Robert Louis Stevenson

(1850-1894 / Edinburgh / Scotland)

As One Who Having Wandered All Night Long


AS one who having wandered all night long
In a perplexed forest, comes at length
In the first hours, about the matin song,
And when the sun uprises in his strength,
To the fringed margin of the wood, and sees,
Gazing afar before him, many a mile
Of falling country, many fields and trees,
And cities and bright streams and far-off Ocean's smile:

I, O Melampus, halting, stand at gaze:
I, liberated, look abroad on life,
Love, and distress, and dusty travelling ways,
The steersman's helm, the surgeon's helpful knife,
On the lone ploughman's earth-upturning share,
The revelry of cities and the sound
Of seas, and mountain-tops aloof in air,
And of the circling earth the unsupported round:

I, looking, wonder: I, intent, adore;
And, O Melampus, reaching forth my hands
In adoration, cry aloud and soar
In spirit, high above the supine lands
And the low caves of mortal things, and flee
To the last fields of the universe untrod,
Where is no man, nor any earth, nor sea,
And the contented soul is all alone with God.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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