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by [?]

Thou art the joy of Age:
The sun is dear even when long shadows fall.
Forth to the sunlight the old man doth crawl,
Enlivened like the bird in his poor cage.
Close by the door, no further, in his chair
The old man sits; and sitteth there
His soul within him, like a child that lies
Half dreaming, with his half-shut eyes,
At close of a long afternoon in summer;
High ruins round him, ancient ruins, where
The raven is almost the only comer;
And there he broods in wonderment
On the celestial glory sent
Through the rough loopholes, on the golden bloom
That waves above the cornice on the wall,
Where lately dwelt the echoes of the room;
And drinking in the yellow lights that lie
Upon the ivy tapestry.
So dreams the old man’s soul, that is not old,
But sleepy ‘mid the ruins that infold.

What meanings various thou callest forth
Upon the face of the still passive earth!
Even like a lord of music bent
Over his instrument;
Whether, at hour of sovereign noon,
Infinite cataracts sheet silent down;
Or a strange yellow radiance slanting pass
Betwixt long shadows o’er the meadow grass,
When from the lower edge of a dark cloud
The sun at eve his blessing head hath bowed;
Whether the moon lift up her shining shield,
High on the peak of a cloud-hill revealed;
Or crescent, low, wandering sun-dazed away,
Unconscious of her own star-mingled ray,
Her still face seeming more to think than see,
She makes the pale world lie in dreams of thee.
Each hour of day, each hour of thoughtful night,
Hath a new poem in the changing light.

Of highest unity the sole emblem!
In whom all colours that our eyes can see
In rainbow, moonbow, or in opal gem,
Unite in living oneness, purity,
And operative power! whose every part
Is beauty to the eyes, and truth unto the heart!
Outspread in yellow sands, blue sea and air,
Green growing corn, and scarlet poppies there;–
Regent of colours, thou, the undefiled!
Whether in dark eyes of the laughing child,
Or in the vast white cloud that floats away,
Bearing upon its breast a brown moon-ray;
The universal painter, who dost fling
Thy overflowing skill on everything!
The thousand hues and shades upon the flowers,
Are all the pastime of thy leisure hours;
And all the gems and ores that hidden be,
Are dead till they are looked upon by thee.

Thou art shining through the air;
Every atom from another
Takes thee, gives thee to his brother;
Thou art falling on the sea,
Bathing the deep woods down below,
Making the sea-flowers bud and blow;
Thou art working ardently,
Bringing from the night of nought
Into being and to thought;
Every beam of thine dispenses,
Powerful, varied, reaching far,
Differing in every star.
Not an iron rod can lie
In circle of thy beamy eye,
But thy look doth change it so
That it cannot choose but show
Thou, the worker, hast been there;
Yea, sometimes, on substance rare,
Thou dost leave thy ghostly mark
In what men do call the dark.
Doer, shower, mighty teacher!
Truth-in-beauty’s silent preacher!
Universal something sent
To shadow forth the Excellent!

When the firstborn affections,
Those winged seekers of the world within,
That search about in all directions,
Some bright thing for themselves to win,
Through unmarked forest-paths, and gathering fogs,
And stony plains, and treacherous bogs,
Long, long, have followed faces fair,
Fair faces without souls, that vanished into air;
And darkness is around them and above,
Desolate, with nought to love;
And through the gloom on every side,
Strange dismal forms are dim descried;
And the air is as the breath
From the lips of void-eyed Death;
And the knees are bowed in prayer
To the Stronger than Despair;
Then the ever-lifted cry,
Give us light, or we shall die,
Cometh to the Father’s ears,
And He listens, and He hears:
And when men lift up their eyes,
Lo, Truth slow dawning in the skies!
‘Tis as if the sun gleamed forth
Through the storm-clouds of the north.
And when men would name this Truth,
Giver of gladness and of youth,
They can call it nought but Light–
‘Tis the morning, ’twas the night.
Yea, every thought of hope outspread
On the mountain’s misty head,
Is a fresh aurora, sent
Through the spirit’s firmament,
Telling, through the vapours dun,
Of the coming, coming sun.