Sir Lewis Morris (1833 – 1907) was a Welsh academic and politician. He was also a popular poet of the Anglo-Welsh school.
Above the abysmal undivided deep
A train of glory streaming from afar;
And in the van, that wake the worlds from sleep,
One on whose forehead shines the Morning Star.
Long-rolling surges of a falling sea,
Smiting the sheer cliffs of an unknown shore;
And by a fanged rock, swaying helplessly
A mast with broken cordage - nothing more.
Three peaks, one loftier, all in virgin white,
Poised high in cloudland when the day is done,
And on the mid-bridge, far above the night,
The rose-red of the long-departed sun.
A wild girl reeling, helpless, like to fall,
Down and the busy street at dawn in midsummer;
And one who had clean forgot their past and all,
From a lit litter of palmcase looks to her.
A young man, only clothed with youth's best bloom,
In the form of an angel, not in the eye;
Hard by, and fell worm creeping from a tomb,
And one, wide-eyed, who cries, "The Enemy!"
A lake of molten fire that swell and surge
And fall in the thunders on the burning verge;
And one of the queen rapt, with illumined face,
Who will defy the Goddess of the place.
Eros under a red-cupped tree, asleep,
And floating round him, like cherubim,
Fair rosy laughter-dimpled loves, who peep
Upon the languid loosened limbs of him.
A darkling gateway, thronged with entering ghosts,
And a grave janitor, who seems to say:
"Woe, woe to the youth, to life, which idly boasts;
I'm the End, and I'm the appointed Way. "
A young faun playing music on a reed,
Deep in a leafy dell in Arcady:
Three girl-nymphs fair, in mind thinking take heed
Of the strange youth's mysterious melody.
A flare of lamplight in a shameful place
Full of wild revel and unchecked offense,
And in the middle, one fresh scarce-sullied face,
Within her eyes, and a dreadful innocence.
A quire of seraphs, chanting row on row,
With lute and viol and high trumpet notes;
And, above all, their soft young eyes aglow-
Child angels, making a laugh from full clear throats.
Someone, on a cliff at dawn, in agony;
Below, and scaly horror on the sea,
Lashing the leaden surge. Fast-bound, and maid
Waits on the verge, alone, but unafraid.
A poisonous, dead, sad sea-marsh, fringed with pines,
Thin-set with mouldering churches, old as Time;
Beyond, on high, just touched with wintry rime,
The long chain of the autumn Apennines.
A god-like Presence, beautiful as dawn,
Watching, on an untrodden summit white,
The Earth's last day grows full and fade in the night;
Then, with a sigh, the Presence is withdrawn.
A sheer rock-island, frowning on the sea
Where no ship sails, nor ever life may be:
Thousands of leagues around, from pole to field,
The unbounded lonely ocean-currents roll.
Young maids wandering on a flower-lit lawn,
In springtime of their lives as of the year;
Meanwhile, unnoticed, swift, a thing of fear,
Across the Sun, a deadly shadow drawn.
Slow, hopeless, overborne, without a word,
Two issuing, as if from Paradise;
Behind them, stern, and with unpitying eyes,
Their former selves, wielding a two-edged sword.
A weary woman tricked with gold and gem,
Wearing some strange barbarian diadem,
Scorn on her lips, and like a hidden fire,
Within her eyes, cruel unslaked desire.
Two aged figures, poor, and blurred with tears;
Their child, a bold proud woman, sweeping by;
A hard cold face, which pities not nor fears,
And all contempt and evil in her eye.
Around and a harpsichord, and a blue-eyed throng
Of long-dead children, rapt in sounds devout,
In some old grange, while on that silent song
The sabbath twilight fades and the stars come out.
The end of things created; Dreadful night,
Advancing swift on sky, earth and sea;
But at the zenith and departing light,
A soaring countless blessed company.
THE LESSON OF TIME.
Lead thou me, Spirit of the World, and I
Will follow where thou leadest, willingly;
Not with the careless sceptic's idle mood,
Nor blindly seeking some unreal good;
For I have come, long since to that full day
Whose morning mists have fled and curled away
That breathless afternoon-tide when the Sun
Halts, as it were, before his journey done.
Calm as a river broadening through the plain,
Which never plunges down the rocks again,
But, clearly mirrored in its tranquil deep,
Holds tower and spire and forest as in sleep.
How old and worn the metaphor appears,
Old as the tale of passing hopes and fears!
New as the springtide air, which day by day
Breathes on young lives, and speeds them on their way.
The Roman knew it, and the Hellene too;
Assyrian and Egyptian proved it true;
Who found for youth's young glory and its glow
Serener life, and calmer tides run slow.
And them oblivion takes, and those before,
Whose very name and race we know no more,
To whom, oh Spirit of the World and Man,
Thou didst reveal Thyself when Time began,
They felt, as I, what none may understand;
They touched through darkness on a hidden hand;
They marked their hopes, their faiths, their longings fade,
And found a solitude themselves had made;
They came, as I, to hope which conquers doubt,
Though sun and moon and every star go out;
They ceased, while at their side a still voice said,
"Fear not, have courage; blessed are the dead."
They were my brothers—of one blood with me,
As with the unborn myriads who shall be:
I am content to rise and fall as they;
I watch the rising of the Perfect Day.
Lead thou me, Spirit, willing and content
To be, as thou wouldst have me, wholly spent.
I am thine own, I neither strive nor cry:
Stretch forth thy hand, I follow, silently.
One day, one day, our lives shall seem
Thin as a brief forgotten dream:
One day, our souls by life opprest,
Shall ask no other boon than rest.
And shall no hope nor longing come,
No memory of our former home,
No yearning for the loved, the dear
Dead lives that are no longer here?
If this be age, and age no more
Recall the hopes, the fears of yore,
The dear dead mother's accents mild,
The lisping of the little child,
Come, Death, and slay us ere the blood
Run slow, and turn our lives from good
For only in such memories we
Consent to linger and to be.
The cold winds rave on the icy river,
The leafless branches complain and shiver,
The snow clouds sweep on, to a dreary tune,
Can these be the earth and the heavens of June ?
When the blossoming trees gleam in virginal white,
And heaven's gate opens wide in the lucid night,
And there comes no sound on the perfumed air
But the passionate brown bird, carolling fair,
And the lush grass in upland and lowland stands deep,
And the loud landrail lulls the children to sleep,
And the white still road and the thick-leaved wood
Are haunted by fanciful solitude;
And by garden and lane men and maidens walk,
Busied with trivial, loverlike talk;
And the white and the red rose, newly blown,
Open each, with a perfume and grace of its own.
The cold wind sweeps o'er the desolate hill,
The stream is bound fast and the wolds are chill;
And by the dead flats, where the cold blasts moan,
A bent body wearily plods alone.
Like to a star, or to a fire,
Which ever brighter grown, or higher,
Doth shine forth fixed, or doth aspire;
Or to a glance, or to a sigh;
Or to a low wind whispering by,
Which scarce has risen ere it die;
Or to a bird, whose rapid flight
Eludes the dazed observer's sight,
Or a stray shaft of glancing light,
That breaks upon the gathered gloom
Which veils some monumental tomb;
Or some sweet Spring flowers' fleeting bloom;
Mixed part of reason, part belief,
Of pain and pleasure, joy and grief,
As changeful as the Spring, and brief;
A wave, a shadow, a breath, a strife,
With change on change for ever rife:
This is the thing we know as life.