Times go by Turns -
THE loppèd tree in time may grow again,
Most naked plants renew both fruit and flower;
The sorest wight may find release of pain,
The driest soil suck in some moist'ning shower;
Times go by turns and chances change by course,
From foul to fair, from better hap to worse.
The sea of Fortune doth not ever flow,
She draws her favours to the lowest ebb;
Her tides hath equal times to come and go,
Her loom doth weave the fine and coarsest web; 10
No joy so great but runneth to an end,
No hap so hard but may in fine amend.
Not always fall of leaf nor ever spring,
No endless night yet not eternal day;
The saddest birds a season find to sing,
The roughest storm a calm may soon allay:
Thus with succeeding turns God tempereth all,
That man may hope to rise, yet fear to fall.
A chance may win that by mischance was lost;
The net that holds no great, takes little fish;
In some things all, in all things none are crost,
Few all they need, but none have all they wish;
Unmeddled joys here to no man befall:
Who least, hath some; who most, hath never all.
Now the last hookah has gone out, and the most restless of our servants has turned in. The roof of the cabin is strewed with bodies anything but fragrant, indeed, we cannot help pitying the melancholy fate of poor Morpheus, who is traditionally supposed to encircle such sleepers with his soft arms. Could you believe it possible that through such a night as this they choose to sleep under those wadded cotton coverlets, and dread not instantaneous asphixiation?
THE MESSIAH -
Lord, tell me when
Shall come to men
When shall Thy care
His couch prepare
To be my guest,
To sleep on my golden bed,
in my palace rest.
Wake, dear gazelle,
Shake off thy spell,
Nor slumber still.
Dawn like a flag
Surmounts the crag
Of Tabor’s hill,
And its flame it unfurls o’er my
Hermon, the hoar and chill.
From the wild-ass brood
To the grace renewed
Of Thy dainty roe,
O Lord, return,
For behold we yearn
Our love to show,
And our soul with Thy soul at
one as of yore to know.
Thrice welcome he
Who comes to me
Of David’s line,
My palace treasure
Is at his pleasure
With all that’s mine,
My pomegranate, cinnamon, spice, and
the jars of my old sweet wine.
"Daughter of Zion, tried in Sorrow’s furnace,
E’en as I swore thy fathers, be at rest.
I swore it for My sake, and now thy crying
Hath mounted to My habitation blest,
And I have heard, for gracious is My breast."
"Obeisance low I made, for I am feeble,
Thy kindliness responds to all who yearn.
Come back, dear Lord, whose name is linked with pardon,
No other saviour Israel can discern,
Unto his myriad families return!"
"Where’er thy origin, whosoe’er thy master,
A man shall come—nay, I—thy cause to plead,
Whoever holds the bill of thy divorcement.
Like wall or tower of fire I guard thy seed,
Then wherefore weep or heart affrighted heed?"
"Why do I weep? Because Thou keepest silence,
Though violence rages and, all uncontrolled,
The mob destroys, and we as slaves to strangers,
Master and man together, have been sold,
And no Redeemer do our eyes behold."
"Who art thou thus to shrink from man in terror
And be dismayed because of mankind’s scorn?
My angel I will send, as wrote the prophet,
And gather Israel winnowed and new-born:
This miracle shall be to-morrow morn."
"To gather me my chieftains Thou didst promise,
The day comes not and miracle is none,
Nor see I Temple built nor any herald
Of Peace arrive to be my Holy One—
Ah, wherefore lingers Jesse’s promised son?"
"Behold, I keep the oath I swore to gather
My captives—kings shall bring their gifts to thee;
Created for a witness to the nations,
My holy ones shall testify to Me—
Yea, Jesse’s son Mine eyes already see."
Lord of the world, O hear my psalm,
And as sweet incense take my plea.
My heart hath set its love on Thee
And finds in speech its only balm.
This thought forever haunts my mind,
Some day to Thee I must return,
From Thee I came and backward yearn
My very fount and source to find.
Not mine the merit that I stand
Before Thee thus, since all is Thine,
The glorious work of force divine,
No product of my heart or hand.
My soul to Thee was humbly bent
Even before she had her birth,
Before upon the sphere of earth
Her heav’nly greatness made descent.
The seven heavens cannot Thee enfold,
Sustained by Thee, they do not Thee sustain.
They hymn Thee since Thou madest them of old,
And when they perish, Thou shalt still remain,
O mighty God!
The messengers of heaven Thee revere.
They stand to praise Thee in Thine inmost shrine,
Yet from beholding Thee they shrink in fear,
For how behold the dazzling dread Divine?
O Lord, my God!
What voice is this that singeth without cease
And spends in song to Thee its nights and days?
But Thou, omnipotence beyond increase,
Art high—I know—uplifted over praise,
O Lord, my God!
So great Thy majesty and manifold,
How canst Thou lodge in tabernacle’s span?
Such glory no circumference can hold,
For Thou art vastly mightier than man,
O Lord, my God!
He at whose feet celestial creatures creep
A day of liberation will proclaim,
And from all corners call his scattered sheep,
However sorry-looking they or lame,
The Lord, my God!
Root of our saviour,
The scion of Jesse,
Till when wilt thou linger,
Bring forth a flower,
For winter is over!
Why should a slave rule
The lineage of princes,
A hairy barbarian
Replace our young sovran?
The years are a thousand
Since, broken and scattered,
We wander in exile,
Like waterfowl lost in
The depths of the desert.
No man in white linen
Reveals at our asking
The end of our Exile.
God sealed up the matter,
And closed up the knowledge.
Who shall declare Thy righteousness?
For Thou hast compassed the firmament of the moon with a second sphere
Without deviation or infraction,
And within it is a star called Mercury,
And its measure to the earth is like one to twenty-two thousand.
And it completeth its turbulent course in ten months
And is the stirrer up in the world of strifes and contentions
And enmities and cries of complaint,
And it giveth the force to obtain power and to heap up wealth,
To gather riches and to lay up abundance,
According to the command of Him who created it to be His minister
As a servant before a master.
And it is the star of prudence and wisdom,
"Giving subtlety to the simple
And to the young man knowledge and discretion."
Who can grasp Thy wonders?
For Thou hast appointed him to furnish light to the stars
Of high or low degree,
And to the Moon,
"If that white bright spot stays in its place"
And according as she moves away to stand opposite the Sun,
She receiveth his shining
Until his light is at the full when she stands before him,
And it irradiates her whole face.
And when that she draws nigh in the latter half of the month,
And declineth from him
And is far from standing opposite him
And proceedeth to the side of him,
In that degree waneth her splendour,
Till the end of her month and her circuit,
And she declineth to her extreme rim.
And when she is in conjunction with him
She is hid in secret places
For a day and half an hour
And some numbered moments,
And after that she is renewed and returneth to her prior self
And "issueth forth as a bridegroom from his chamber."
O my God,
If my iniquity is too great to be borne,
What wilt Thou do for Thy great name’s sake?
And if I do not wait on Thy mercies,
Who will have pity on me but Thee?
Therefore though Thou shouldst slay me, yet will I trust in Thee.
For if Thou shouldst pursue my iniquity,
I will flee from Thee to Thyself,
And I will shelter myself from Thy wrath in Thy shadow,
And to the skirts of Thy mercies I will lay hold until Thou hast had mercy on me,
And I will not let Thee go till Thou hast blessed me.
Remember, I pray Thee, that of slime Thou hast made me,
And by all these hardships tried me,
Therefore visit me not according to my wanton dealings,
Nor feed me on the fruit of my deeds,
But prolong Thy patience, nor bring near my day,
Until I shall have prepared provision for returning to my eternal home,
Nor rage against me to send me hastily from the earth,
With my sins bound up in the kneading-trough on my shoulder.
And when Thou placest my sins in the balance
Place Thou in the other scale my sorrows,
And while recalling my depravity and frowardness,
Remember my affliction and my harrying,
And place these against the others.
And remember, I pray Thee, O my God,
That Thou hast driven me rolling and wandering like Cain,
And in the furnace of exile hast tried me,
And from the mass of my wickedness refined me,
And I know ’tis for my good Thou hast proved me,
And in faithfulness afflicted me,
And that it is to profit me at my latter end
That Thou hast brought me through this testing by troubles.
Therefore, O God, let Thy mercies be moved toward me,
And do not exhaust Thy wrath upon me,
Nor reward me according to my works,
But cry to the Destroying Angel:
For what height or advantage have I attained
That Thou shouldst pursue me for my iniquity,
And shouldst post a watch over me,
And trap me like an antelope in a snare?
Is not the bulk of my days past and vanished?
Shall the rest consume in their iniquity?
And if I am here to-day before Thee,
"To-morrow Thine eyes are upon me and I am not."
"And now wherefore should I die
And this Thy great fire devour me?"
O my God, turn Thine eyes favourably upon me
For the remainder of my brief days,
Pursue not their escaping survivors,
Nor let the remnant of the crops that the hail hath spared
Be finished off by the locust for my sins.
For am I not the creation of Thy hands,
And what shall it avail Thee
That the worm shall take me for its meal
And feed on the product of Thy hands?
Will night already spread her wings and weave
her dusky robe about the day’s bright form,
Boldly the sun’s fair countenance displacing,
And swathe it with her shadow in broad day?
So a green wreath of mist enrings the moon
Till envious clouds do quite encompass her.
No wind! and yet the slender stem is stirred,
With faint slight motion as from inward tremor.
Mine eyes are full of grief—who sees me asks,
“Oh wherefore dost thou cling unto the ground?”
My friends discourse with sweet and soothing words;
They all are vain, they glide above my head.
I fain would check my tears; would fain enlarge
Unto infinity, my heart—in vain!
Grief presses hard my breast, therefore my tears
Have scarcely dried ere they again spring forth.
For these are streams no furnace heat may quench,
Nebuchadnezzar’s flames may dry them not.
What is the pleasure of the day for me,
If, in its crucible, I must renew
incessantly the pangs of purifying?
Up, challenge, wrestle and o’ercome! Be strong!
The late grapes cover all the vine with fruit.
I am not glad, though even the lion’s pride
Content itself upon the field’s poor grass.
My spirit sinks beneath the tide, soars not
With fluttering seamews on the moist, soft strand.
I follow Fortune not, where’er she lead.
Lord o’er myself, I banish her, compel
And though her clouds should rain no blessed dew,
Though she withhold the crown, the heart’s desire,
Though all deceive, though honey change to gall,
Still am I lord and will in freedom strive.
I before Thy greatness
Stand, and am afraid:—
All my secret thoughts Thine eye beholdeth
Deep within my bosom laid.
Everyone is alone on the heart of the earth
pierced by a ray of sunshine:
and now evening, and Everyone stands alone at the heart of the world, pierced by a ray of sunlight, and Suddenly it's evening.
Behold the cold days have already passed
And the season of winter’s rains is buried.
The young turtle-doves are seen in our land;
They call to one another from the tips of branches.
Therefore, my companions, keep the covenant
Of friendship make haste and do not defy me.
Come to my garden and pluck
The roses whose perfume is like pure myrrh.
And by the blossoms and gathering of swallows
Who sing of the good times, drink ye
Wine in measures like the tears I shed over parting
With friends and as red as the faces of blushing lovers.
She said: “Be happy that God has helped you reach
The age of fifty in this world,” not knowing
That to me there is no difference between my life’s
Past and that of Noah about whom I heard.
For me there is only the hour in which I am present in this world:
It stays for a moment and then like a cloud moves on.
Until I lose my soul and lie
Blind to the beauty of the earth,
Deaf though shouting wind goes by,
Dumb in a storm of mirth;
Until my heart is quenched at length
And I have left the land of men,
Oh, let me love with all my strength
Careless if I am loved again.
We deemed the secret lost, the spirit gone,
Which spake in Greek simplicity of thought,
And in the forms of gods and heroes wrought
Eternal beauty from the sculptured stone —
A higher charm than modern culture won,
With all the wealth of metaphysic lore,
Gifted to analyze, dissect explore.
A many-colored light flows from our sun;
Art, 'neath its beams a motley thread has spun;
The prison modifies the perfect day;
But thou hast known such mediums to shun,
And cast once more on life a pure white ray.
Absorbed in the creations of thy mind,
Forgetting daily self, my truest friend I find.
My soul is like the oar that momently
Dies in a desperate stress beneath the wave,
Then glitters out again and sweeps the sea:
Each second I'm new-born from some new grave.
The Symphony -
O Trade! O Trade! would thou wert dead!
The Time needs heart -- 'tis tired of head:
We're all for love," the violins said.
"Of what avail the rigorous tale
Of bill for coin and box for bale?
Grant thee, O Trade! thine uttermost hope:
Level red gold with blue sky-slope,
And base it deep as devils grope:
When all's done, what hast thou won
Of the only sweet that's under the sun?
Ay, canst thou buy a single sigh
Of true love's least, least ecstasy?"
Then, with a bridegroom's heart-beats trembling,
All the mightier strings assembling
Ranged them on the violins' side
As when the bridegroom leads the bride,
And, heart in voice, together cried:
"Yea, what avail the endless tale
Of gain by cunning and plus by sale?
Look up the land, look down the land
The poor, the poor, the poor, they stand
Wedged by the pressing of Trade's hand
Against an inward-opening door
That pressure tightens evermore:
They sigh a monstrous foul-air sigh
For the outside leagues of liberty,
Where Art, sweet lark, translates the sky
Into a heavenly melody.
`Each day, all day' (these poor folks say),
`In the same old year-long, drear-long way,
We weave in the mills and heave in the kilns,
We sieve mine-meshes under the hills,
And thieve much gold from the Devil's bank tills,
To relieve, O God, what manner of ills? --
The beasts, they hunger, and eat, and die;
And so do we, and the world's a sty;
Hush, fellow-swine: why nuzzle and cry?
"Swinehood hath no remedy"
Say many men, and hasten by,
Clamping the nose and blinking the eye.
But who said once, in the lordly tone,
"Man shall not live by bread alone
But all that cometh from the Throne?"
Hath God said so?
But Trade saith "No:"
And the kilns and the curt-tongued mills say "Go!
There's plenty that can, if you can't: we know.
Move out, if you think you're underpaid.
The poor are prolific; we're not afraid;
Trade is trade."'"
Thereat this passionate protesting
Meekly changed, and softened till
It sank to sad requesting
And suggesting sadder still:
"And oh, if men might some time see
How piteous-false the poor decree
That trade no more than trade must be!
Does business mean, `Die, you -- live, I?'
Then `Trade is trade' but sings a lie:
'Tis only war grown miserly.
If business is battle, name it so:
War-crimes less will shame it so,
And widows less will blame it so.
Alas, for the poor to have some part
In yon sweet living lands of Art,
Makes problem not for head, but heart.
Vainly might Plato's brain revolve it:
Plainly the heart of a child could solve it."
And then, as when from words that seem but rude
We pass to silent pain that sits abrood
Back in our heart's great dark and solitude,
So sank the strings to gentle throbbing
Of long chords change-marked with sobbing --
Motherly sobbing, not distinctlier heard
Than half wing-openings of the sleeping bird,
Some dream of danger to her young hath stirred.
Then stirring and demurring ceased, and lo!
Every least ripple of the strings' song-flow
Died to a level with each level bow
And made a great chord tranquil-surfaced so,
As a brook beneath his curving bank doth go
To linger in the sacred dark and green
Where many boughs the still pool overlean
And many leaves make shadow with their sheen.
A velvet flute-note fell down pleasantly
Upon the bosom of that harmony,
And sailed and sailed incessantly,
As if a petal from a wild-rose blown
Had fluttered down upon that pool of tone
And boatwise dropped o' the convex side
And floated down the glassy tide
And clarified and glorified
The solemn spaces where the shadows bide.
From the warm concave of that fluted note
Somewhat, half song, half odor, forth did float,
As if a rose might somehow be a throat:
"When Nature from her far-off glen
Flutes her soft messages to men,
The flute can say them o'er again;
Yea, Nature, singing sweet and lone,
Breathes through life's strident polyphone
The flute-voice in the world of tone.
Man's love ascends
To finer and diviner ends
Than man's mere thought e'er comprehends
For I, e'en I,
As here I lie,
A petal on a harmony,
Demand of Science whence and why
Man's tender pain, man's inward cry,
When he doth gaze on earth and sky?
I am not overbold:
Full powers from Nature manifold.
I speak for each no-tongued tree
That, spring by spring, doth nobler be,
And dumbly and most wistfully
His mighty prayerful arms outspreads
Above men's oft-unheeding heads,
And his big blessing downward sheds.
I speak for all-shaped blooms and leaves,
Lichens on stones and moss on eaves,
Grasses and grains in ranks and sheaves;
Broad-fronded ferns and keen-leaved canes,
And briery mazes bounding lanes,
And marsh-plants, thirsty-cupped for rains,
And milky stems and sugary veins;
For every long-armed woman-vine
That round a piteous tree doth twine;
For passionate odors, and divine
Pistils, and petals crystalline;
All purities of shady springs,
All shynesses of film-winged things
That fly from tree-trunks and bark-rings;
All modesties of mountain-fawns
That leap to covert from wild lawns,
And tremble if the day but dawns;
All sparklings of small beady eyes
Of birds, and sidelong glances wise
Wherewith the jay hints tragedies;
All piquancies of prickly burs,
And smoothnesses of downs and furs
Of eiders and of minevers;
All limpid honeys that do lie
At stamen-bases, nor deny
The humming-birds' fine roguery,
Bee-thighs, nor any butterfly;
All gracious curves of slender wings,
Fern-wavings and leaf-flickerings;
Each dial-marked leaf and flower-bell
Wherewith in every lonesome dell
Time to himself his hours doth tell;
All tree-sounds, rustlings of pine-cones,
Wind-sighings, doves' melodious moans,
And night's unearthly under-tones;
All placid lakes and waveless deeps,
All cool reposing mountain-steeps,
Vale-calms and tranquil lotos-sleeps; --
Yea, all fair forms, and sounds, and lights,
And warmths, and mysteries, and mights,
Of Nature's utmost depths and heights,
-- These doth my timid tongue present,
Their mouthpiece and leal instrument
And servant, all love-eloquent.
I heard, when `"All for love"' the violins cried:
So, Nature calls through all her system wide,
`Give me thy love, O man, so long denied.'
Much time is run, and man hath changed his ways,
Since Nature, in the antique fable-days,
Was hid from man's true love by proxy fays,
False fauns and rascal gods that stole her praise.
The nymphs, cold creatures of man's colder brain,
Chilled Nature's streams till man's warm heart was fain
Never to lave its love in them again.
Later, a sweet Voice `Love thy neighbor' said;
Then first the bounds of neighborhood outspread
Beyond all confines of old ethnic dread.
Vainly the Jew might wag his covenant head:
`"All men are neighbors,"' so the sweet Voice said.
So, when man's arms had circled all man's race,
The liberal compass of his warm embrace
Stretched bigger yet in the dark bounds of space;
With hands a-grope he felt smooth Nature's grace,
Drew her to breast and kissed her sweetheart face:
Yea man found neighbors in great hills and trees
And streams and clouds and suns and birds and bees,
And throbbed with neighbor-loves in loving these.
But oh, the poor! the poor! the poor!
That stand by the inward-opening door
Trade's hand doth tighten ever more,
And sigh their monstrous foul-air sigh
For the outside hills of liberty,
Where Nature spreads her wild blue sky
For Art to make into melody!
Thou Trade! thou king of the modern days!
Change thy ways,
Change thy ways;
Let the sweaty laborers file
A little while,
A little while,
Where Art and Nature sing and smile.
Trade! is thy heart all dead, all dead?
And hast thou nothing but a head?
I'm all for heart," the flute-voice said,
And into sudden silence fled,
Like as a blush that while 'tis red
Dies to a still, still white instead.
Thereto a thrilling calm succeeds,
Till presently the silence breeds
A little breeze among the reeds
That seems to blow by sea-marsh weeds:
Then from the gentle stir and fret
Sings out the melting clarionet,
Like as a lady sings while yet
Her eyes with salty tears are wet.
"O Trade! O Trade!" the Lady said,
"I too will wish thee utterly dead
If all thy heart is in thy head.
For O my God! and O my God!
What shameful ways have women trod
At beckoning of Trade's golden rod!
Alas when sighs are traders' lies,
And heart's-ease eyes and violet eyes
O purchased lips that kiss with pain!
O cheeks coin-spotted with smirch and stain!
O trafficked hearts that break in twain!
-- And yet what wonder at my sisters' crime?
So hath Trade withered up Love's sinewy prime,
Men love not women as in olden time.
Ah, not in these cold merchantable days
Deem men their life an opal gray, where plays
The one red Sweet of gracious ladies'-praise.
Now, comes a suitor with sharp prying eye --
Says, `Here, you Lady, if you'll sell, I'll buy:
Come, heart for heart -- a trade? What! weeping? why?'
Shame on such wooers' dapper mercery!
I would my lover kneeling at my feet
In humble manliness should cry, `O sweet!
I know not if thy heart my heart will greet:
I ask not if thy love my love can meet:
Whate'er thy worshipful soft tongue shall say,
I'll kiss thine answer, be it yea or nay:
I do but know I love thee, and I pray
To be thy knight until my dying day.'
Woe him that cunning trades in hearts contrives!
Base love good women to base loving drives.
If men loved larger, larger were our lives;
And wooed they nobler, won they nobler wives."
There thrust the bold straightforward horn
To battle for that lady lorn,
With heartsome voice of mellow scorn,
Like any knight in knighthood's morn.
"Now comfort thee," said he,
For God shall right thy grievous wrong,
And man shall sing thee a true-love song,
Voiced in act his whole life long,
Yea, all thy sweet life long,
Where's he that craftily hath said,
The day of chivalry is dead?
I'll prove that lie upon his head,
Or I will die instead,
Is Honor gone into his grave?
Hath Faith become a caitiff knave,
And Selfhood turned into a slave
To work in Mammon's cave,
Will Truth's long blade ne'er gleam again?
Hath Giant Trade in dungeons slain
All great contempts of mean-got gain
And hates of inward stain,
For aye shall name and fame be sold,
And place be hugged for the sake of gold,
And smirch-robed Justice feebly scold
At Crime all money-bold,
Shall self-wrapt husbands aye forget
Kiss-pardons for the daily fret
Wherewith sweet wifely eyes are wet --
Blind to lips kiss-wise set --
Shall lovers higgle, heart for heart,
Till wooing grows a trading mart
Where much for little, and all for part,
Make love a cheapening art,
Shall woman scorch for a single sin
That her betrayer may revel in,
And she be burnt, and he but grin
When that the flames begin,
Shall ne'er prevail the woman's plea,
`We maids would far, far whiter be
If that our eyes might sometimes see
Men maids in purity,'
Shall Trade aye salve his conscience-aches
With jibes at Chivalry's old mistakes --
The wars that o'erhot knighthood makes
For Christ's and ladies' sakes,
Now by each knight that e'er hath prayed
To fight like a man and love like a maid,
Since Pembroke's life, as Pembroke's blade,
I' the scabbard, death, was laid,
I dare avouch my faith is bright
That God doth right and God hath might.
Nor time hath changed His hair to white,
Nor His dear love to spite,
I doubt no doubts: I strive, and shrive my clay,
And fight my fight in the patient modern way
For true love and for thee -- ah me! and pray
To be thy knight until my dying day,
Made end that knightly horn, and spurred away
Into the thick of the melodious fray.
And then the hautboy played and smiled,
And sang like any large-eyed child,
Cool-hearted and all undefiled.
"Huge Trade!" he said,
"Would thou wouldst lift me on thy head
And run where'er my finger led!
Once said a Man -- and wise was He --
`Never shalt thou the heavens see,
Save as a little child thou be.'"
Then o'er sea-lashings of commingling tunes
The ancient wise bassoons,
Old harpers sitting on the high sea-dunes,
"Bright-waved gain, gray-waved loss,
The sea of all doth lash and toss,
One wave forward and one across:
But now 'twas trough, now 'tis crest,
And worst doth foam and flash to best,
And curst to blest.
Life! Life! thou sea-fugue, writ from east to west,
Love, Love alone can pore
On thy dissolving score
Of harsh half-phrasings,
Blotted ere writ,
And double erasings
Of chords most fit.
Yea, Love, sole music-master blest,
May read thy weltering palimpsest.
To follow Time's dying melodies through,
And never to lose the old in the new,
And ever to solve the discords true --
Love alone can do.
And ever Love hears the poor-folks' crying,
And ever Love hears the women's sighing,
And ever sweet knighthood's death-defying,
And ever wise childhood's deep implying,
But never a trader's glozing and lying.
And yet shall Love himself be heard,
Though long deferred, though long deferred:
O'er the modern waste a dove hath whirred:
Music is Love in search of a word.
The challenge of tefillah is that we overcome our natural inclinations and thoughts, leaving behind all concerns of this world. [paraphrase]