Anne Whitney




by Anne Whitney

Gray strength of years!
Whereon so many a bark is wrecked;
And even success
Falls blank and passionless;
This morn has decked
Your front with trailing loveliness,
And branching lights;
Inlets of summer from celestial heights.

Dimpling with light, beneath the long arcades,
The shadows smile in sleep:
And all those forces manifold that keep
Such infantine, calm play,
Before the awful hand
That makes and breaks,
Sing and are jubilant to-day.
Sing on, all up and down the shining land!
My heart your meaning takes.

As evening's star on star,
Through the blue portals of the air,
What countless creatures throng!
And beautiful they are --
With morning in their eyes and in their hair;
And on their lips an antique speech and song.

One shadow only waits
Aloof, poised on ascending wing,
And lifts no voice; but in her throat,
I ween there is a sweeter note
Than all these glorious warblers bring.
I hear her chant an inward strain;
Thou sett'st me above Time's annoy:
I found delight and it was pain;
Thou gavest pain, and it is joy.
Token of unaccomplished growth,
Stern pledge of immortality;
Through all the earth's perplexed domain,
Just God! I would that there should be
No living thing that should not suffer PAIN.

Thus in a ravishment
Of inward sight, her song wells up,
A passionate content.

Scatter the road,
The beaten highway of the world, my heart,
With rose and asphodel,
And all thou draw'st from music's throbbing well;
Behold how rich thou art!
Thou drink'st of every spring of God;
Broad heaven but lightly freights thine eye,
And thy familiar pulse is rife
With tumult of the river of life,
That makes the circuit of the youngest sky.
What thrill that spirits feel,
Transport of love, or ecstasy
Of still, creative force,
That life shall not at last to thee reveal?

O make no barren haste --
Thou livest from day to day with God so near!
And well may'st brook
Into those phantom-eyes to look
That freeze in these half-lights our atmosphere: --
Seeing that thou art based
On the immortal Joy -- whose spreading bloom
Hath root of substance so divine,
That the perennial heavens which by it shine,
And spring's sure birth, live only to express
Its strength and everlastingness.


Copyright 1859
346 & 348 Broadway
D. Appleton & Company
New York