A Spirit's Return






……..'This is to be a mortal,
And seek the things beyond mortality!' ~ Manfred.

Thy voice prevails - dear friend, my gentle friend!
This long-shut heart for thee shall be unsealed,
And though thy soft eye mournfully will bend
Over the troubled stream, yet once revealed
Shall its freed waters flow; then rocks must close
For evermore, above their dark repose.

Come while the gorgeous mysteries of the sky
Fused in the crimson sea of sunset lie;
Come to the woods, where all strange wandering sound
Is mingled into harmony profound;
Where the leaves thrill with spirit, while the wind
Fills with a viewless being, unconfined,
The trembling reeds and fountains - our own dwell,
With its green dimness and AEolian breath,
Shall suit the unveiling of dark records well -
Hear me in tenderness and silent faith!

Thou knewest me not in life's fresh vernal morn -
I would thou hadst! - for then my heart on thine
Had poured a worthier love; now, all o'erworn
By its deep thirst for something too divine,
It hath but fitful music to bestow,
Echoes of harp-strings broken long ago.

Yet even in youth companionless I stood,
As a lone forest-bird 'midst ocean's foam;
For me the silver cords of brotherhood
Were early loosed; the voice from my home
Passed one by one, and melody and mirth
Left me a dreamer by a silent hearth.

But, with the fulness of a heart that burned
For the deep sympathies of mind, I turned
From that unanswering spot, and fondly sought
In all wild scenes with thrilling murmurs fraught,
In every still small voice and sound of power,
And flute-note of the wind through cave and bower
A perilous delight! - for then first woke
My life's lone passion, the mysterious quest
Of secret knowledge; and each tone that broke
From the wood-arches or the fountain's breast,
Making my quick soul vibrate as a lyre,
But ministered to that strange inborn fire.

'Midst the bright silence of the mountain dells,
In noontide hours or golden summer-eves,
My thoughts have burst forth as a gale that swells
Into a rushing blast, and from the leaves
Shakes out response. O thou rich world unseen!
Thou curtained realm of spirits! - thus my cry
Hath troubled air and silence - dost thou lie
Spread all around, yet by some filmy screen
Shut from us ever? The resounding woods,
Do their depths teem with marvels? - and the floods,
And the pure fountains, leading secret veins
Of quenchless melody through rock and hill,
Have they bright dwellers? - are their lone domains
Peopled with beauty, which may never still

Our
weary thirst of soul? Cold, weak and cold,
Is earth's vain language, piercing not one fold
Of our deep being! Oh, for gifts more high!
For a seer's glance to rend mortality!
For a charmed rod, to call from each dark shrine
The oracles divine!

I woke from those high fantasies, to know
My kindred with the earth - I woke to love:
O gentle friend! to love in doubt and woe,
Shutting the heart the worshipped name above,
Is to love deeply - and
my
spirit's dower
Was a sad gift, a melancholy power
Of so adoring - with a buried care,
And with the o'erflowing of a voiceless prayer,
And with a deepening dream that day by day,
In the still shadow of the lonely sway,
Folded me closer, till the world held nought
Save the
one
being to my centred thought.
There was no music but his voice to hear;
No joy but such as with
his
step drew near:
Light was but where he looked - life where he moved:
Silently, fervently, thus, thus I loved.
Oh! but such love is fearful! - and I knew
Its gathering doom: the soul's prophetic sight
Even then unfolded in my breast, and threw
O'er all things round a full, strong, vivid light,
Too sorrowfully clear! - an under-tone
Was given to Nature's harp, for me alone
Whispering of grief. Of grief? - be strong, awake!
Hath not thy love been victory, O my soul?
Hath not its conflict won a voice to shake
Death's fastness? - a magic to control
Worlds far removed? - from o'er the grave to thee
Love hath made answer; and
thy
tale should be
Sung like a lay of triumph! Now return,
And take thy treasure from its bosomed urn,
And lift it once to light!

In fear, in pain,
I said I loved - but yet a heavenly strain
Of sweetness floated down the tearful stream,
A joy flashed through the trouble of my dream!
I knew myself beloved! - we breathed no vow,
No mingling visions might our fate allow,
As unto happy hearts; but still and deep,
Like a rich

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