John Banister Tabb



The Cloud

by John Banister Tabb

Far on the brink of day
Thou standest as the herald of the dawn,
Where fades the night's last flickering spark away
Ere the first dewdrop's gone.

Above the eternal snows
By winter scattered on the mountain height
To shroud the centuries, thy visage glows
With a prophetic light.

Calm is thine awful brow;
As when thy presence shrined Divinity
Between the flaming Cherubim, so now
Its shadow clings to thee.

Yet as an Angel mild
Thou, in the torrid noon, with sheltering wing
Dost o'er the earth, as to a weary child,
A balm celestial bring.

And when the evening dies,
Still to thy fringed vesture cleaves the light --
The last sad glimmer of her tearful eyes
On the dark verge of night.

So, soon thy glories wane!
Thou too must mourn the rose of morning shed:
Cold creeps the fatal shadow o'er thy train,
And settles on thy head.

And while the wistful eye
Yearns for the charm that wooed its ravished gaze,
The sympathy of Nature wakes a sigh,
And thus its thought betrays:

Thou, like the Cloud, my soul,
Dost in thyself of beauty nought possess;
Devoid the light of Heaven, a vapor foul,
The veil of nothingness!


Copyright 1894
John Lane, LondonCopeland and Day, Boston