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Thomas Buchanan Read (Томас Бьюкенен Рид)


The Celestial Army


I STOOD by the open casement
  And looked upon the night,
And saw the westward-going stars
  Pass slowly out of sight.

Slowly the bright procession
  Went down the gleaming arch,
And my soul discerned the music
  Of their long triumphal march;

Till the great celestial army,
  Stretching far beyond the poles,
Became the eternal symbol
  Of the mighty march of souls.

Onward, forever onward,
  Red Mars led down his clan;
And the Moon, like a mailèd maiden,
  Was riding in the van.

And some were bright in beauty,
  And some were faint and small,
But these might be in their great height
  The noblest of them all.

Downward, forever downward,
  Behind Earth's dusky shore
They passed into the unknown night,
  They passed and were no more.	

No more! Oh, say not so!
  And downward is not just;
For the sight is weak and the sense is dim
  That looks through heated dust.

The stars and the mailèd moon,
  Though they seem to fall and die,
Still sweep with their embattled lines
  An endless reach of sky.

And though the hills of Death
  May hide the bright array,
The marshalled brotherhood of souls
  Still keeps its upward way.

Upward, forever upward,
  I see their march sublime,
And hear the glorious music
  Of the conquerors of Time.

And long let me remember,
  That the palest, fainting one	
May to diviner vision be
  A bright and blazing sun.



Thomas Buchanan Read's other poems:
  1. Sheridan's Ride
  2. Drifting
  3. Some Things Love Me
  4. Heart and Hearth
  5. The Angler


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