July 19, 2011
HOW many days with mute adieu
Have gone down yon untrodden sky!
And still it looks as clear and blue
As when it first was hung on high.
The rolling sun, the frowning cloud,
That drew the lightning in its rear,
The thunder, tramping deep and loud,
Have left no footmark there.
The village bells, with silver chime,
Come soften’d by the distant shore;
Though I have heard them many a time,
They never rung so sweet before.
A silence rests upon the hill,
A listening awe pervades the ear;
The very flowers are shut and still,
And bow’d as if in prayer.
And in this hush’d and breathless close,
O’er earth and air, and sky and sea,
That still, low voice in silence goes,
Which speaks alone, great God, of Thee!
The whispering leaves, the far-off brook,
The linnet’s warble fainter grown,
The hive-bound bee, the lonely rook—
All these their Maker own.
Now shine the starry hosts of light,
Gazing on earth with golden eyes;
Bright guardians of the blue-brow’d night,
What are ye in your native skies?
I know not, neither can I know,
Nor on what leader ye attend,
Nor whence ye came, nor whither go,
Nor what your aim or end.
I know they must be holy things
That from a roof so sacred shine,
Where sounds the beat of angel wings,
And footsteps echo all divine.
Their mysteries I never sought,
Nor hearken’d to what Science tells;
For oh! in childhood I was taught
That God amidst them dwells.
The darkening woods, the fading trees,
The grasshopper’s last feeble sound,
The flowers just waken’d by the breeze—
All leave the stillness more profound.
The twilight takes a deeper shade,
The dusky pathways blacker grow,
And silence reigns in glen and glade—
All, all is mute below.
And other eves as sweet as this
Will close upon as calm a day,
And, sinking down the deep abyss,
Will, like the last, be swept away;
Until eternity is gain’d,
That boundless sea without a shore,
That without time for ever reign’d,
And will when time’s no more.
Now nature sinks in soft repose,
A living semblance of the grave;
The dew steals noiseless on the rose,
The boughs have almost ceased to wave;
The silent sky, the sleeping earth,
Tree, mountain, stream, the humble sod—
All tell from whom they had their birth,
And cry, “Behold a God!”