Ever and again across the dreariness

There came a sudden glimpse of spirit faces,

A fragrant breath to tell of flowery places

And wider oceans, breaking on the shore

From which the hearts of men are always sore.

It lies beyond endeavour; neither prayer

Nor fasting, nor much wisdom winneth there,

Seeing how many prophets and wise men

Have sought for it and still returned again

With hope undone. But only the strange power

Of unsought Beauty in some casual hour

Can build a bridge of light or sound or form

To lead you out of all this strife and storm;

When of some beauty we are grown a part

Till from its very glory's midmost heart

Out leaps a sudden beam of larger light

Into our souls. All things are seen aright

Amid the blinding pillar of its gold,

Seven times more true than what for truth we hold

In vulgar hours. The miracle is done

And for one little moment we are one

With the eternal stream of loveliness

That flows so calm, aloft from all distress

Yet leaps and lives around us as a fire

Making us faint with overstrong desire

To sport and swim for ever in its deep--

Only a moment.

O! but we shall keep

Our vision still. One moment was enough,

We know we are not made of mortal stuff.

And we can bear all trials that come after,

The hate of men and the fool's loud bestial laughter

And Nature's rule and cruelties unclean,

For we have seen the Glory-we have seen.

XVI. The Philosopher

Who shall be our prophet then,

Chosen from all the sons of men

To lead his fellows on the way

Of hidden knowledge, delving deep

To nameless mysteries that keep

Their secret from the solar day!

Or who shall pierce with surer eye!

This shifting veil of bittersweet

And find the real things that lie

Beyond this turmoil, which we greet

With such a wasted wealth of tears?

Who shall cross over for us the bridge of fears

And pass in to the country where the ancient Mothers dwell?

Is it an elder, bent and hoar

Who, where the waste Atlantic swell

On lonely beaches makes its roar,

In his solitary tower

Through the long night hour by hour

Pores on old books with watery eye

When all his youth has passed him by,

And folly is schooled and love is dead

And frozen fancy laid abed,

While in his veins the gradual blood

Slackens to a marish flood?

For he rejoiceth not in the ocean's might,

Neither the sun giveth delight,

Nor the moon by night

Shall call his feet to wander in the haunted forest lawn.

He shall no more rise suddenly in the dawn

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