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Poem by Philip James Bailey


Festus - 41


Millennial earth, transfigured to a star,
The rebegotten world, see, born again;
Good, universal order, peace and joy.
Fruits of the new creation, all the heirs
Holy, of light, share; sweet command in these,
In those, obedience sweeter still. All art
Sublimed, all science hallowed, to best ends,
Life worldly made life heavenly by God's law
Pervasive, spiritual ill, pain bodily, cease.
Are gloriously disproven all godless doubts,
Earth's caverned prophesies, of oracular reek
Voiced, not divine breath, of mere fleshlihood.
Virtues incorporate spiritual--wise, with heaven
Linked, their original nature show and end.
Life lower now with more intelligence dowered,
Docile, unharmful, gladdens in fates humane.

Earth Millennial.
Archangel, Angel of Earth, Luniel, Angels, Saints, Angela, Festus, and Clara.
Angel of Earth.  God and the world one Holy family;
The houses of the heavens and earth allied;
That was the prophecy, and this the proof;
Love the beginning of the great return.

Luniel.  I had a happy vision yesternight.
Methought I saw the gathering of all tribes
Of men returning out of dateless death,
Unto the Holy land, the land of life.

Saints.  We saw it likewise; we, yea, all of us,
And heard the angels sing: far up mid heaven
Their blessèd words resounded, of our thoughts
The pure celestial echoes; this their hymn.

They come from the ends of the earth,
White with its aged snows;
From the bounding breast of the tropic tide,
Where the day--beam ever glows;
From the east where first they dwelt,
From the north, and the south, and the west,
Where the sun puts on his robe of light,
And lays down his crown to rest.

Out of every land they come;
Where the palm triumphant grows,
Where the vine overshadows the roofs and the hills,
And the gold orbed orange glows:
Where the olive and fig--tree thrive,
And the rich pomegranates red,
Where the citron blooms, and the apple of ill
Bows down its fragrant head.

From the lands where the gems are born;
Opal and emerald bright;
From shores where the ruddy corals grow,
And pearls with their mellow light;
Where silver and gold are dug,
And the diamond rivers roll,
And the marble white as the still moonlight
Is quarried, and jetty coal;--

They come--with a gladdening shout;
They come--with a tear of joy;
Father and daughter, youth and maid,
Mother and blooming boy.
A thousand dwellings they leave,
Dwellings--but not a home;
To them there is none but the sacred soil,
And the land whereto they come.

And the Temple again shall be built,
And filled as it was of yore;
And the burden be lift from the heart of the world,
And the nations all adore;
Prayers to the throne of heaven
Morning and eve shall rise,
And unto and not of the Lamb
Shall be the sacrifice.

Angel of Earth.  As isles, disjoined by superficial deeps,
Yet rooted stand in unity with worlds;
So with the interior continent of heaven,
Earth and its own.

Saints. Now know we the whole world
The land of heavenly commerce, where both kinds
Of men and angels mix with mutual gain;
With knowledge, and with wisdom, and with joy
Flowing; the final festival of time.

Archangel.  Angels, God's gracious ministry, doubt ye not,
In many a sphere,--by laws of light and weight
With yours commutual bound, as ye to them,
Spiritual, by sense of right and truth, by proof,
By love of Deity, and by bonds to both
Common of virtue and piety, interchange
With chosen intelligences and spirits of power,
Thrones and all heavenly excellences, who scale
The star--stair of perfection's tower, glad news
Of orbs, even yours, regenerate. Every globe
A mansion of the spirit, world--blessing souls
Mingle at large with men. Know, who would prove
Divinity by deeds works miracles; who
By words, speaks mysteries mixed with clearest truths.
All revelation is a mystery, here.

Angel of Earth.  The ultimate mysteries faith shall celebrate,
Perfective, of the holy spirit, are God's;
Whose manifold salvation all imbounds,
Sinner and saint, one world completing plan.

Saints.  O holy Angel, warden of the world,
Who guidedst its first footsteps o'er the path,
Untried of newest space, well trodden now,
Which round the sun it circleth; and thou, too,
Serenest of all angels, fairest, first,
Of those here culled, the flower of heaven's bright hosts,
Who knowest the heart of truth, and well may'st smile
At legends of the birth of sun and stars,
The atomic ancestries of elements,
And infantile antiquity of time,--
We in this sphere rejoice that with ye we
The truth possess and glory in. Do thou
Speak then, who canst, bright angel guide of earth,
If leisure thine, whose long experience tends
Far past the immediate parentage of time,
Into eternal aeons, what to us
The Godblessed words may prove of living light.
Instruct us in the wisdom of the heavens,
At once the gate and goal of the true life
The empyrean shadows, so that we,
Like self obedient elements, which contain
Their total laws and partial liberties,
The reign of God may honour in all spheres,
And act therewith concordantly, as here.

Angel of Earth.  As when one wise in Nature's ways of old,
Gazing through optic lens, heaven's spatial plains,
Perceived that what to naked eye black blanks
Unfathomable, and lonesome adits seemed
From universe to universe, were in truth
Crowded with suns; so, too, created mind,
Scanning the depths of Deity, must confess,
When by his will enlightened, that what shows
As mere inexplicable judgment, fate,
Imposed by arbitrary ruler, first,
Proves, rightly known of good and glory full,
As firmamental fields with orbs of life.
For infinitely various are the ways
Wherein God conquers evil; at one time
Slowly eradicating, line by line,
Its fatal features, and again, by one
Annihilative word, destroying it.
The sphere I mourned as mine, to ruin doomed,
God hath restored to being; and newly dowered
With life, and holy soul, transformed, it beams
Self--shining. And, recipient of all bliss
Unmerited, unmeasured, she the like
Imparts to all who in her hallowed light,
Gladden. Thereto, I now; God bidden to tend.

Luniel.  The issue of all ages is at hand.

Angel of Earth.  Heaven's ways are always cyclical; its events,
All orbital, its aeras; and albeit
The sin of man, Promethean, never cease,
Nor the avenging vulture's beak, blood--wet;
Yet is the arrow always on the wing,
Which seeks the heart of vengeance, seeks and slays.
So from the first divine forgiveness clasps,
To her all quickening bosom, all which live;
Calls all by name, and naming, halloweth them.

Saints.  Thus, by God's goodness, goodness comes to us
Out of his boundless plenitude; and man,
The shadowy semblance of the vast divine,
Like a dark sphere absorbed into the sun,
As in presecular time emergent thence,
His constellated seat assumes in heaven,
A deathless incarnation of the light.
And this despite of evil, sin, and pain,
That every faculty be perfected,
And all affection purified in man;
Love being love of good, hate, hate of ill;
Divinest hate, unanimous with love.
Wherefore to those who realize God's will,
And with the same their own assimilate,
Water in water flowing, air in air,
Passive as silence, active as the light,
Receiving and dispensing, moments fall
Like silver raindrops stippled in the ground,
Whose resurrection is in grain of gold.
But with the generation of the world,
Who their back turned upon the sun to toy
With their own shadows, meanly pleased to mark
Their selfgrowth, not considering that the more
These things extend themselves, the nearer they
To their extinction;--not thus. Night comes on;
And lo! the whole flock in the fold of death.

Angel of Earth.  Ends and beginnings mingle at the last;
All ultimates are foreordained; these days,
And those far times, when yon fair flowering orb,
Lily--like, beamed out of time's shadowy tide;
And spread its bright and continental leaves,
Fragrant with sunny incense, to the heavens.
But his infallible eye, beneath whose beam
Essence becomes appearance, every day
Doomsday, an inner circlet of pure time,
Concentric with eternity, and part
Of the same all inclusive octave here,
The darkness from the light shall sejugate;
The visible veil of the invisible.
And the times near when all shall be complete;
The golden seed from ripe fulfilment fall;
Eternal mind immortal utterance make;
The many--coloured arch a circle be;
Earth's orb elect her crescent horns conjoin
With light perpetual, total, vital light;
And, the mixed past made pure and holy, cause
The present paradise, the future heaven.

Saints.  Man's being is an everlasting birth;
We are ourselves the elements of heaven.
And as the eye is sacred to the sun,
So be the soul to God. It is sweet to point
To prophecies fulfilled, when spells of good.
To us extinct all ill, all sin, all woe;
The world seems wreathed from end to end with joy,
And garlanded with glory, as the hall
Of some great populous palace at a feast.
Our nature we relume, too, as the sun,
From the bright burning atmosphere he breathes,
The starry spirits of his frame renews,
And revels in his glory without end.
So we in that divinity rejoice,
Wherein all spiritual essence is and acts,
Authentic because free.

Angels. Praise therefore heaven.

Saints.  To thee, God, maker, ruler, saviour, judge!
The Infinite, the Universal One,
Whose righteousnesses are as numberless
As creature sins; who giver art of life;
Who sawest from the first that all was good,
Which thou didst make, and seal'dst it with thy love,
Thy boundless benediction on the world;
To thee be honour, glory, prayer and praise,
And full--orbed worship from all worlds, all heavens.
May every being bless thee in return
As thou dost bless it; every age and orb
Utter to thee the praise thou dost inspire.
Let man, Lord! praise thee most, as all redeemed,
As many in the saints, as one in thee.
Oh may perpetual pleasure, peace, and joy,
And spiritual light inform all souls;
And grace and mercy in bliss thousandfold
Enwrap the world of life. May all who dwell
On open earth, or in the hid abyss,
Howe'er they sin or suffer, in the end,
Receive, as beings born at first of thee,
The mercy that is mightier than all ill.
May all souls love each other in all worlds,
And all conditions of existence: even
As now these lower lives that dwell with man
In amity, rejoicing in the care
Of their superior, and in useful peace,
Upon the common earth, no more distained
With mutual slaughter--no more doomed to groan
At sight of woe, and cruelty, and crime.
Lo! all things now rejoicing in the life
Thou art to each and givest, live to thee;
And knowing other's nature and their own
Live in serene delight, content with good,
Yet earnest for the last and best degree.
Their hands are full of kindness, and their tongues
Are full of blessings, and their hearts of good.
All things are happy here. May kindness, truth,
Wisdom, and knowledge, liberty and power,
Virtue and holiness, o'erspread all orbs
As this star now; the world be bliss and love;
And heaven alone be all things; till at last
The music from all souls redeemed shall rise,
Like a perpetual fountain of pure sound,
Upspringing, sparkling in the silvery blue;
From round creation to thy feet, O God!

Festus.  One's fellow conquerors recognized in peace,
How calm, how sweet this life! from passion pure,
From natural evils freed. The storm of time
The world hath wept through, and the whirl of life
Once mine, shows like an agonizèd dream
Hung in the halls of memory, bannerwise;
Proof--sign of victory passed. Speak, angel--bride,
Being of bliss and beauty, seems not this
The peace serene thy spirit longed for once?

Clara.  It is. How doubly dear all sacred thing
Show to the soul elect salvation here
Hath hallowed; and how blessed the high employ,
God's wisdom teaching to millennial man,
And learning love divine.

Festus. Doubt's tempest--age
Soothed into silent and profound belief;
The soul's ambitious and ill--ordered quests
Chastened to aspirations; all desires,
Calm as the regular breathings of the breast.
What joy to worship, in our heart recrowned,
The exiled sovereign of earth's youth, long lost,
Our old paternal faith!--What joy to feel,
Though life--deforming passions come and go,
Stormlike, and cloudlike, high o'er all, the spirit
Stands, in impassive purity and peace,
Identical with heaven. See, soul of light,
Thy kindred angel!

Angela. Yes. This joy is mine,
To quit betimes the grandeurs of the sun,
His continents of light and sea--like springs
Of radiance, here to wander by their side
Beloved on earth as mine; and ye are they
I loved most. Most of all it gladdeneth me
In hallowed commune thus to help expand
The spirit capacious of extremest truth,
With ends beneficent; so that kindly act
Keep pace with godly thought.

Festus. God's universe,
A boundless field for ever--active good,
To soul so bent, unfolds. While, world by world,--
Through all successive spheres, the aspiring spirit,
Death born, yet reascendent, till it come,
Through many a cradling starlet, to the orb
Whence its predestined rise shall end all proof,
Restore the wanderer to the way, and blend
Life momentary with the eternal state,
The everlasting order of all days,--
Wisdom her many--chambered dome reveals,
Her graduated heaven.

Clara. Content with this,
One altar in her thousand--shrinèd fane,
Earth's simpler souls their rites of truth and love
Like faithfully fulfil with those enthroned
Who look down on the empyrean. Here
All knowledge sanctified, all mind enlarged,
All faculties reformed, how perfect seems
To eyes illumed with truth's interior light,
Self--opening, flowerlike, those most gracious trials
Our souls once suffered; sufferings now enjoyed.

Angela.  What lengths we reach of spiritual light;
What breadths now compass of celestial views;
What heights faith's visionary eye commands;
What depths we fathom of divinity;
Let him tell, who can count the motes of air,
Stars, and the rays of stars, or God's good deeds.

Festus.  Alas! what mean conceptions once were man's
Of God; his essence, nature, ends. In vain
Men thought to magnify the Infinite,
Who merely magnified their own small thought,
And made it monstrous. Not in vain for such
May we thy pity ask, thy pardon, Lord;
For us, the joy to feel, the gift to prove
Love, power, and wisdom omnicausal thine,
Which from the fount divine of being flow.
With hatred and revenge are base effects,
And passions, to mean natures only known;
Not to be charged to God, nor named with him.
Passions are proofs of imperfection. Thou
Only hast all perfections, God! who art
Eternal reason quickening boundless laws;
The laws of love, life, light, wherein be based
The world's sublime foundations.

Angela. Oh, how vast
The glories of the future, once mismatched
'Gainst earth--life merely, and all its littleness.

Clara.  Were happiness alone our being's aim,
We, over nature reigning and mere soul,
Pure intellect, and all whom, led by them
Our better lot is here to raise, refine,
Enlighten, free from inner mental bonds,
Oh, glorious rule! it might indeed seem well
For good of others and our own delight,
This natural dispensation and divine,
This first degree of heaven should aye perdure.

Angela.  True; earth is all one Eden. Pity 'twere,
That it should ever end.

Saint. I say not so;
Although I have a thousand plans in hand,
Some interwoven with the farthest stars--
Each one of which might ask a year of years
To perfect.

Clara. Be it; our Maker knoweth best
What thought or deed may best belong to time,
Or to eternity.

Saint. All prophecy
Hath said the earth shall cease, and that right soon.

Festus.  It is like enough. Beauty's akin to death.

Angel.  Behold, our sister graces of the skies,
Faith, Hope, and Love, descend! Methinks of late
Ye chiefly dwell on earth.

Love. Where lives and reigns
The divine humanity, there are we ever seen,
Successive, as the seasons to the sun.

Saints.  Well are ye known and welcome in all worlds.
Wherever lofty thought or godly deed
Is lodged or compassed, there your blessings rest.

Hope.  How sweet, how sacred now, this earth of man's,
The prelude of a yet sublimer bliss!--
I marked it from the first, while yet it lay
Lightless and stirless; ere the forming fire
Was kindled in its bosom, or the land
Lift its volcanic breastwork up from sea.
The deluge and idolatries of men
I viewed, though shuddering, and with faltering eye,
E'en to the incarnation of heaven's Truth,
And dawn of earth's best faith; that faith which fled
An infant, waxed anon a giant; peeped,
A star, and grew a heaven--fulfilling sun;
Which was an outcast, and became, ere long,
A dweller in all palaces; which hid
Its head in dens of deserts, and sat throned,
After, in richest temples high as hills:
Which, poured out painfully in mortal blood,
Rose an immortal spirit; as a slave
Was sold for gold and prostrated to power;--
And now that lowly bondmaid is a queen;
And lo! she is beloved in earth and heaven;
And lieth in the bosom of her Lord,
The bride of the all--worshipped, one with God.

Love.  We, even of divinest origin,
In infinite progression view all worlds;
And we are happy.

Faith. The dead sleep as yet;
But their day cometh, and the bonds of death
Already slacken around the living soul;
The mortal sleep of ages, which began
When time sank down into his slumberous west,
Thins even now o'er the reviving eyes,
Gathering their heaven--lent light, no more to wane
In woe or age: never be quenched in tears,
Like a star in the sea. It is as I ever knew;
My life is to receive and to believe
The word and words of God.

Love. I who am Love,
And Grace, and Charity, rejoice with you,
Whither ye wend I with ye; whether here,
Or on the utmost rim of Light's broad reign,
The least and last of stars which even seems
To tremble at its insignificance,
In presence of Infinity; where yet
No angel's wing hath waved, nor foot of fiend
Left its hot imprint;--still, in all do we
Find fit delight and honour, as now here.
Now earth and heaven hold commune, day and night;
There's not a wind but bears upon its wing
The messages of God; and not a star
But knows the bliss of earth.

Festus. The earth hath God
Remade, and all its elements refined,
Fit for sublimer being. Flesh hath passed
Its fiery baptism, and come forth clear
As crystal gold: all that of vile or mean
Pertained to it hath perished atomless.
The kindred ties of family and race,
Intensified into identity, now,
Earth, like a diamond, basks in her own free light,
Unfed, unaided, unrequiring aught.
All now is purity, and power, and peace.
The first--born of creation, they who hail
Archangels as their brethren, mountainlike
Reign o'er the plains of men, converting all;
Reaping the fields of immortality,
Each one his sheaf, for him the harvest--Lord;
To whom belongs earth's whole estate and life,
And every world's.

Angel. And he shall garner all.
The awful tribes which have in Hades dwelt,
Passed count of time, await their rising. God's
Great day, the sabbath of the world's long week,
Is at high noon; and Christ hath yet to come,
To judge and save the living and the dead.

Clara.  The shadows of eternity o'ercast
Already time's bright towers. The heavens shall come
Down like a cloud upon the hill, and sweep
Their spirit over earth, and the whole face
And form of things shall be dissolved and changed.
Nothing shall be but essence, perfect, pure,
And void of every attribute but God's.
This even is too gross for that to come,
The holy have the earth, and heaven is theirs.

Festus.  Nor pain, nor toil of mind or frame, nor doubt
Nor discontent, nor enmity to God,
Disturb the steady joy the spirit feels;
Nor element can torture, nor time tire;
Nor sea nor mountain make or bar or fear;
Sickness and woe and death are things gone by;
Destroyed with the destruction of the world:--
Shadows of things which have been, never more
To waste the world's bright hours, nor grate the heart
Of mighty man; now fit for thrones and wings;
Ruler of worlds, main minister of heaven,
Inheritor of all the prophecies
Of God, fore--uttered through the tongues of time,
Ages of ages. Evil is no more.

Archangel. And does earth satisfy thee now?

Festus. As earth.
There is a brighter, loftier life for man
Even yet, the very union with God.

Archangel.  God works by means. Between the two extremes
Of earth and heaven there lies a mediate state,--
A pause between the lightning lapse of life
And following thunders of eternity;--
Between eternity and time a lapse,
To soul unconscious, though agelasting, where
Spirit is tempered to its final fate;
Within or between worlds, repose or bliss
Divested, man shall mix with deity,
And the eternal and immortal make
One being. As in earth's first paradise
God's spirit walked with man, and commune made
With him, so in the second, after death,
Man's spirit walks with God in an elect
Existence, and a vigil of the great,
The holy day which is to break in heaven.
Thither Truth's prophet went, in the dread hour
That hell by earth on heaven revenged itself,
With one soul penitent 'companied;--nor long
Remained, but while enough to cheer earth's troop
Of foremost disobedients, heads of Sin's
Long line, who soul enlightened firm received
With time--outwearing hope that yet in God
They should partake the fulness of his love.
And with him rose then, in prophetic proof
Of immortality, many a deathless ghost,
Triumphant o'er that blind revenge which wrought
Hell! thy destruction--thy salvation, earth!

Festus.  That such will be, the just well know; and all
Earth's great events and changes tend thereto;
Its fiery dissolution in the passed,
And supernatural rebirth which now
The chosen and the world--redeemed partake.

Archangel.  And this shall last, till like the setting sun
Deserting earth, he shall retire to heaven,
With all his captive victors in his train,
Triumphant, and translated evermore
Into the hierarchal skies. Wilt see,
While yet time is, earth's shadowy world within--
The living death she hearts, and, augur--like,
Explore the ominous bowels of the sphere?
As one great life it is pervadeth all
That bud, breathe, beam, so in the spirit world,
Of God, his will through countless ministries
Confided potently, works publicly;
And I, the liberating angel, marked
From supramundane time, act to this end.
To me are given the secrets of the centre,
The keys of earth, to lock and to unlock,
Coffer--like. I it was who seized and bound,
At his behest who wills and it is done,
Even on their thrones, the mighty thou wilt see.

Festus.  Angel of heaven! I would view these things.

Archangel.  Nor these alone, but other wonders yet.
The valley Death's dark pinions brooded o'er,
A life--offending night, unvisited
By sun or star, where but the fatuous fire
Of man's weak judgment, wandered till God's hand
Laid o'er the black abyss a bridge of life,
And married earth to heaven's mainland thou'lt see,
Death's grave; and over him, that monument
Of light, enlightening earth. The gods and fiends
Of old, and all the fictions of man's heart,
Imagined of the future passed for aye,
Thou shalt inspect. Behold this mountain! We
Must pass through it; for under lie the gates
Of the invisible regions whereunto
We tend, for a brief season.

Festus. On then!

Archangel. Bare
Thy marble breast, O mountain, to its depths!
An angel and a man divine demand
A way through these foundations.

Festus. And the rocks
Open like mists before thee.

Archangel. Follow me!



Philip James Bailey


Philip James Bailey's other poems:
  1. Festus - 35
  2. Festus - Proem
  3. Festus - 17
  4. Festus - 24
  5. Festus - 32


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