Thomas Campbell

(1777-1844 / Glasgow / Scotland)

Hope Triumphant in Death


Unfading Hope! when life's last embers burn -
When soul to soul, and dust to dust return,
Heaven to thy charge resigns the awful hour!
Oh! then thy kingdom comes, Immortal Power!
What though each spark of earth-born rapture fly
The quivering lip, pale cheek, and closing eye!
Bright to the soul thy seraph hands convey
The morning dream of life's eternal day -
Then, then, the triumph and the trance begin,
And all the phoenix-spirit burns within!

Oh, deep enchanting prelude to repose,
The dawn of bliss, the twilight of our woes!
Yet half I hear the parting spirit sigh,
It is a dread and awful thing to die!
Mysterious worlds, untravell'd by the sun!
Where Time's far-wandering tide has never run,
From your unfathom'd shades, and viewless spheres,
A warning comes, unheard by other ears.
'Tis Heaven's commanding trumpet, long and loud,
Like Sinai's thunder, pealing from the cloud!
While Nature hears, with terror-mingled thrust,
The shock that hurls her fabric to the dust;
With mortal terrors clouds immortal bliss,
And shrieks and hovers o'er the dark abyss!

Daughter of Faith, awake, arise, illume
The dread unknown, the chaos of the tomb!
Melt and dispel, ye spectre-doubts, that roll
Cimmerian darkness on the parting soul!
Fly, like the moon-eyed herald of dismay,
Chased, on his night-steed, by the star of day!
The strife is o'er - the pangs of Nature close,
And life's last rapture triumphs o'er her woes.
Hark! as the spirit eyes, with eagle gaze,
The noon of heaven, undazzled by the blaze,
On heavenly winds, that waft her to the sky,
Float the sweet tones of star-born melody;
Wild as that hallow'd anthem, sent to hail
Bethlehem's shepherds in the lonely vale,
When Jordan hush'd his waves, and midnight still
Watch'd on the holy towers of Zion hill!

Soul of the just! companion of the dead!
Where is thy home, and whither art thou fled?
Back to its heavenly source thy being goes,
Swift as the comet wheels to whence he rose;
Doom'd on his airy path awhile to burn,
And doom'd, like thee, to travel and return.
Hark! from the world's exploding centre driven,
With sounds, that shook the firmament of heaven,
Careers the fiery giant, fast and far,
On bickering wheels, and adamantine car:
From planet whirl'd to planet more remote,
He visits realms beyond the reach of thought:
But, wheeling homeward, when his course is run,
Curbs the red yoke, and mingles with the sun!
So hath the traveller of earth unfurl'd
Her trembling wings, emerging from the world;
And, o'er the path by mortal never trod,
Sprung to her source, the bosom of her God!

Submitted: Wednesday, April 07, 2010

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