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The Feaster
by [?]

Oh, who will hush that cry outside the doors,
While we are glad within?
Go forth, go forth, all you my servitors;
(And gather close, my kin.)
Go out to her. Tell her we keep a feast,–
Lost Loveliness who will not sit her down
Though we implore.
It is her silence binds me unreleased,
It is her silence that no flute can drown,
It is her moonlit silence at the door,
Wide as the whiteness, but a fire on high
That frights my heart with an immortal Cry,
Calling me evermore.

Louder, you viols;–louder, O my harp;
Let me not hear her voice;
And drown her keener silence, silver-sharp,
With waves of golden noise!
For she is wise as Eden, even mute,
To search my spirit through the deep and height
Again, again.
Outpierce her with your singing, dawnlike flute;
And you, gloom over, viols of the night
With colors lost in umber,–with sweet pain
Of richest world’s desire,–prevail, sing down
All memory with pleading, so you drown
Her merciless refrain!

Oh, can you not with music, nor with din,
Save me the stress and stir
In my lone spirit, throned among my kin,
From that same voice of her?–
The never ending query she hath had
Only to wake my Soul, and only then
Wake it to weep?
With ‘Why?‘ and ‘Art thou happy? Art thou glad?
And hast thou fellowship with fellow-men?

So, through my mirth and underneath my sleep;
Her voice,–abysmal hunger unfulfilled;–
The calling, calling, never to be stilled,–
Calling of deep to deep.

But I have that shall fill this wound of mine,
Since Loveliness must be;–
Since Loveliness must save us, or we pine
And perish utterly.
All that the years have left us, undismayed
Of age or death; and happier fair than truth,
–When truth is fair!
Shapes of immortal sweetness, to persuade
Iron and fire and marble to their youth;
Wild graces trapped from the three kingdoms’ lair
Of wildest Beauty; shadow and smile and hush;
–Fleet color, of a daybreak, of a blush,
For my sad soul to wear!

Let April fade! For me, unfading bloom!…
The little fruitless seed
Deep sown of fire within the midmost gloom,
A sterner fire to feed:–
The rainbow, frozen in a lasting dew;
Green-gazing emerald, fresh as grass beneath
The placid rose.
Fair pearl, and you, fair pearl, and you and you,
Rained from the moon, and kissing in a wreath,
As moment unto eager moment goes!
Look back at me, you sapphires blue and wise
With farthest twilight, blue resplendent eyes
That never weep, nor close.

O house me, glories! Give me house and home
Here for my homelessness.
Set forth for me the wine, the honeycomb
Whereto desire saith ‘Yes!’
O Senses, weave me from all lovely dust
Some home-array, some fair familiar garb
For me, exiled.
Charm me some rare anointment I may trust
Against her query, searching like a barb
The dumbness of a heart unreconciled.
Clothe me with silver; fold me from dismay;
Save me from pity. For I hear her say,
‘Alas, Alas, poor child!’

‘Alas, Alas, thou lost poor child, how long?
Why wilt thou suffer want?
Why must I hear thy weeping through thy song,
And see thine eyes grow gaunt?
Making sad feast upon the crumbs of light
Shed long ago from heavenly highways where
Thy brethren are!
And thy heart smoulders in thee, to be bright,
Thy one sole refuge from thy one despair,
Fraying the thwarted body with a scar.
How long, before thine eyelids, desolate,
How long shall this thy dark dominion wait
For thee, belated Star?’