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The Sphinx

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The Sphinx is drowsy,
The wings are furled;
Her ear is heavy,
She broods on the world.
“Who’ll tell me my secret,
The ages have kept?–
I awaited the seer,
While they slumbered and slept;–

“The fate of the man-child;
The meaning of man;
Known fruit of the unknown;
Daedalian plan;
Out of sleeping a waking,
Out of waking a sleep;
Life death overtaking;
Deep underneath deep?

“Erect as a sunbeam,
Upspringeth the palm;
The elephant browses,
Undaunted and calm;
In beautiful motion
The thrush plies his wings;
Kind leaves of his covert,
Your silence he sings.

“The waves, unashamed,
In difference sweet,
Play glad with the breezes,
Old playfellows meet;
The journeying atoms,
Primordial wholes,
Firmly draw, firmly drive,
By their animate poles.

“Sea, earth, air, sound, silence,
Plant, quadruped, bird,
By one music enchanted,
One deity stirred,–
Each the other adorning,
Accompany still;
Night veileth the morning,
The vapor the hill.

“The babe by its mother
Lies bathed in joy;
Glide its hours uncounted,–
The sun is its toy;
Shines the peace of all being,
Without cloud, in its eyes;
And the sum of the world
In soft miniature lies.

“But man crouches and blushes,
Absconds and conceals;
He creepeth and peepeth,
He palters and steals;
Infirm, melancholy,
Jealous glancing around,
An oaf, an accomplice,
He poisons the ground.

“Outspoke the great mother,
Beholding his fear;–
At the sound of her accents
Cold shuddered the sphere:–
‘Who has drugged my boy’s cup?
Who has mixed my boy’s bread?
Who, with sadness and madness,
Has turned the man-child’s head?'”

I heard a poet answer,
Aloud and cheerfully,
“Say on, sweet Sphinx! thy dirges
Are pleasant songs to me.
Deep love lieth under
These pictures of time;
They fad in the light of
Their meaning sublime.

“The fiend that man harries
Is love of the Best;
Yawns the pit of the Dragon,
Lit by rays from the Blest.
The Lethe of nature
Can’t trace him again,
Whose soul sees the perfect,
Which his eyes seek in vain.

“Profounder, profounder,
Man’s spirit must dive;
To his aye-rolling orbit
No goal will arrive;
The heavens that now draw him
With sweetness untold,
Once found,–for new heavens
He spurneth the old.

“Pride ruined the angels,
Their shame them restores;
And the joy that is sweetest
Lurks in stings of remorse.
Have I a lover
Who is noble and free?–
I would he were nobler
Than to love me.

“Eterne alternation
Now follows, now flied;
And under pain, pleasure,–
Under pleasure, pain lies.
Love works at the centre,
Heart-heaving alway;
Forth speed the strong pulses
To the borders of day.

“Dull Sphinx, Jove keep thy five wits!
Thy sight is growing blear;
Rue, myrrh, and cummin for the Sphinx–
Her muddy eyes to clear!”–
The old Sphinx bit her thick lip,–
Said, “Who taught thee me to name?
I am thy spirit, yoke-fellow,
Of thine eye I am eyebeam.

“Thou art the unanswered question;
Couldst see they proper eye,
Alway it asketh, asketh;
And each answer is a lie.
So take thy quest through nature,
It through thousand natures ply;
Ask on, thou clothed eternity;
Time is the false reply.”

Uprose the merry Sphinx,
And crouched no more in stone;
She melted into purple cloud,
She silvered in the moon;
She spired into a yellow flame;
She flowered in blossoms red;
She flowed into a foaming wave;
She stood Monadnoc’s head.

Through a thousand voices
Spoke the universal dame:
“Who telleth one of my meanings,
Is master of all I am.”

 

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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26th April – On This Day In History

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Born:

1963 Jet Li (actor & martial arts expert)

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Died:

1865 John Wilkes Booth (assassinated Abraham Lincoln)

jb

 

On This Day:

1962 Ariel , the UK’s first satellite, is launched

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Have a good Thursday, 26th April

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On Parting

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The kiss, dear maid! thy lip has left
Shall never part from mine,
Till happier hours restore the gift
Untainted back to thine.

Thy parting glance, which fondly beams,
An equal love may see:
The tear that from thing eyelid streams
Can weep no change in me.

I ask no pledge to make me blest
In gazing when alone;
Nor one memorial for a breast,
Whose thoughts are all thine own.

Nor need I write to tell the tale
My pen were doubly weak:
Oh! what can idle words avail,
Unless the heart could speak?

By day or night, in weal or woe,
That heart, no longer free,
Must bear the love it cannot show,
And silent ache for thee.

 

– George Gordon Byron

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25th April – On This Day In History

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Born:

1599 Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector of England)

oc

 

Died:

1878 Anne Sewell (author – Black Beauty)

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On This Day:

1859 Ground is broken for the construction of the Suez Canal

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Have a good Wednesday, 25th April

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Oh! Weep For Those

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I.
Oh! Weep for those that wept by Babel’s stream,
Whose shrines are desolate, whose land a dream,
Weep for the harp of Judah’s broken shell–
Mourn–where their God that dwelt-the Godless dwell!

II.
And where shall Israel lave her bleeding feet?
And when shall Zion’s songs agains seem sweet?
And Judah’s melody once more rejoice
The hearts that leap’d before its heavenly voice?

III.
Tribes of the wandering foot and weary breast!
How shall ye flee away and be at rest!
The wild-dove hath her nest–the fox his cave–
Mankind their Country–Israel but the grave.

 

– George Gordon Byron

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24th April – On This Day In History

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Born:

1934 Shirley MacLaine (actress)

sm

 

Died:

1731 Daniel Defoe (author – Robinson Crusoe) 

dd

 

On This Day:

1970 Gambia becomes a republic (and part of the Commonwealth) 

gb

 

Have a good Tuesday, 24th April

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Remind Me Not, Remind Me Not

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Remind me not, remind me not,
Of those beloved, those vanish’d hours,
When all my soul was given to thee;
Hours that may never be forgot,
Till Time unnerves our vital powers,
And thou and I shall cease to be.

Can I forget—canst thou forget,
When playing with thy golden hair,
How quick thy fluttering heart did move?
Oh! by my soul, I see thee yet,
With eyes so languid, breast so fair,
And lips, though silent, breathing love.

When thus reclining on my breast,
Those eyes threw back a glance so sweet,
As half reproach’d yet rais’d desire,
And still we near and nearer prest,
And still our glowing lips would meet,
As if in kisses to expire.

And then those pensive eyes would close,
And bid their lids each other seek,
Veiling the azure orbs below;
While their long lashes’ darken’d gloss
Seem’d stealing o’er thy brilliant cheek,
Like raven’s plumage smooth’d on snow.

I dreamt last night our love return’d,
And, sooth to say, that very dream
Was sweeter in its phantasy,
Than if for other hearts I burn’d,
For eyes that ne’er like thine could beam
In Rapture’s wild reality.

Then tell me not, remind me not,
Of hours which, though for ever gone,
Can still a pleasing dream restore,
Till Thou and I shall be forgot,
And senseless, as the mouldering stone
Which tells that we shall be no more.

 

– George Gordon Byron

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