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I.

“Encore un hymne, O ma lyre!
Un hymne pour le Seigneur,
Un hymne dans mon delire,
Un hymne dans mon bonheur.”

one hymn more, O my lyre!
     Praise to the God above,
Of joy and life and love,
     Sweeping its strings of fire!

Oh, who the speed of bird and wind
     And sunbeam's glance will lend to me,
That, soaring upward, I may find
     My resting-place and home in Thee?
Thou, whom my soul, midst doubt and gloom,
     Adoreth with a fervent flame,—
Mysterious spirit! unto whom
     Pertain nor sign nor name!

Swiftly my lyre's soft murmurs go,
     Up from the cold and joyless earth,
Back to the God who bade them flow,
     Whose moving spirit sent them forth.
But as for me, O God! for me,
     The lowly creature of Thy will,
Lingering and sad, I sigh to Thee,
     An earth-bound pilgrim still!

[201] Where yonder stars and suns are glowing?
     To breathe with them the light divine
From God's own holy altar flowing?
     To be, indeed, whate'er the soul
In dreams hath thirsted for so long,—
     A portion of heaven's glorious whole
Of loveliness and song?

Oh, watchers of the stars at night,
     Who breathe their fire, as we the air,—
Suns, thunders, stars, and rays of light,
     Oh, say, is He, the Eternal, there?
Bend there around His awful throne
     The seraph's glance, the angel's knee?
Or are thy inmost depths His own,
     O wild and mighty sea?

Thoughts of my soul, how swift ye go!
     Swift as the eagle's glance of fire,
Or arrows from the archer's bow,
     To the far aim of your desire!
Thought after thought, ye thronging rise,
     Like spring-doves from the startled wood,
Bearing like them your sacrifice
     Of music unto God!

And shall these thoughts of joy and love
     Come back again no more to me?
Returning like the patriarch's dove
     Wing-weary from the eternal sea,
To bear within my longing arms
     The promise-bough of kindlier skies, [202]
Plucked from the green, immortal palms
     Which shadow Paradise?

All-moving spirit! freely forth
     At Thy command the strong wind goes:
Its errand to the passive earth,
     Nor art can stay, nor strength oppose,
Until it folds its weary wing
     Once more within the hand divine;
So, weary from its wandering,
     My spirit turns to Thine!

Child of the sea, the mountain stream,
     From its dark caverns, hurries on,
Ceaseless, by night and morning's beam,
     By evening's star and noontide's sun,
Until at last it sinks to rest,
     O'erwearied, in the waiting sea,
And moans upon its mother's breast,—
     So turns my soul to Thee!

O Thou who bidst the torrent flow,
     Who lendest wings unto the wind,—
Mover of all things! where art Thou?
     Oh, whither shall I go to find
The secret of Thy resting-place?
     Is there no holy wing for me,
That, soaring, I may search the space
     Of highest heaven for Thee?

Oh, would I were as free to rise
     As leaves on autumn's whirlwind borne,
The arrowy light of sunset skies,
     Or sound, or ray, or star of morn, [203]
Or aught which soars unchecked and free
     Through earth and heaven; that I might lose
Myself in finding Thee!

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