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(18 June 1863 – 10 November 1909 / London, England)

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Altiora Peto

O for a vision of the perfect light
To shame the splendour of the morning star!
O for a breath from out the Infinite
Where the great heart of Being throbs afar!
O for that sound, too fine for mortal ears,
The music of the silence of the spheres!
The Masters fathomed not that song sublime,
Tho’ oft on straining ear and brain o’erwrought,
And heart grown faint at heights too sheer to climb,
The roll of some immortal wave of thought
Swept by and left, adown its troubled verge,
The lingering echoes of its mighty surge.

To each there came the passion and the fire,
The breadth of vision and the sudden light,
And for a moment on an earthly lyre
Quivered a tremor of the Infinite;
Yet to each poet of that deep-browed throng
’Twas but the shadow of Immortal Song.

’Twas but the presage of th’ Omniscient Soul
That moves and throbs thro’ all this wondrous plan,
Unseen, unheard, unknown: that is the Whole,
Yet stirs in atoms and the heart of Man;
That thro’ all phase of change, and form, and name
Remains and works eternally the same.

That seems to whisper us:—“All life is one,
Reborn in death it blossoms from decay,
The same when first the fury of the sun
Belched forth his satellites of fiery spray,
The same when he and all his planet train
Shall plough the Ether, cold—to glow again!

“Whither, O whither? Still th’ eternal cry,
That from the ages rolled and yet shall roll!
Who shall declare to man his destiny—
A unit in the Cosmos of the Soul—
A spirit-germ, storm-tossed in doubt and strife,
That feebly dreams of larger light and life?”

Systems and stars their courses onward sweep,
And creeds and nations flower and fade away.
Still Nature worketh out her purpose deep—
New life, new thought for that of yesterday.
Unto the utmost confines of her range
One law abideth of unchanging change.

Around us dwells the secret no man reads!
About us swells the music none can hear!
Behind us lie the ruins of the creeds!
Before us loom the mystery and the fear!
To Love and Hope our souls are clinging fast,
What giveth these, perchance gives Truth at last!

Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010


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