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To The Past Post by :xerxes12 Category :Poems Author :James Russell Lowell Date :November 2010 Read :919

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To The Past

Wondrous and awful are thy silent halls,
O kingdom of the past!
There lie the bygone ages in their palls,
Guarded by shadows vast;
There all is hushed and breathless,
Save when some image of old error falls
Earth worshipped once as deathless.

There sits drear Egypt, mid beleaguering sands,
Half woman and half beast,
The burnt-out torch within her mouldering hands 10
That once lit all the East;
A dotard bleared and hoary,
There Asser crouches o'er the blackened brands
Of Asia's long-quenched glory.

Still as a city buried 'neath the sea
Thy courts and temples stand;
Idle as forms on wind-waved tapestry
Of saints and heroes grand,
Thy phantasms grope and shiver,
Or watch the loose shores crumbling silently 20
Into Time's gnawing river.

Titanic shapes with faces blank and dun,
Of their old godhead lorn,
Gaze on the embers of the sunken sun,
Which they misdeem for morn;
And yet the eternal sorrow
In their unmonarched eyes says day is done
Without the hope of morrow.

O realm of silence and of swart eclipse,
The shapes that haunt thy gloom 30
Make signs to us and move their withered lips
Across the gulf of doom;
Yet all their sound and motion
Bring no more freight to us than wraiths of ships
On the mirage's ocean.

And if sometimes a moaning wandereth
From out thy desolate halls,
If some grim shadow of thy living death
Across our sunshine falls
And scares the world to error, 40
The eternal life sends forth melodious breath
To chase the misty terror.

Thy mighty clamors, wars, and world-noised deeds
Are silent now in dust,
Gone like a tremble of the huddling reeds
Beneath some sudden gust;
Thy forms and creeds have vanished,
Tossed out to wither like unsightly weeds
From the world's garden banished.

Whatever of true life there was in thee 50
Leaps in our age's veins;
Wield still thy bent and wrinkled empery,
And shake thine idle chains;--
To thee thy dross is clinging,
For us thy martyrs die, thy prophets see,
Thy poets still are singing.

Here, mid the bleak waves of our strife and care,
Float the green Fortunate Isles
Where all thy hero-spirits dwell, and share
Our martyrdoms and toils; 60
The present moves attended
With all of brave and excellent and fair
That made the old time splendid.

(The end)
James Russell Lowell's poem: To The Past

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To The Future To The Future

To The Future
O Land of Promise! from what Pisgah's height Can I behold thy stretch of peaceful bowers,Thy golden harvests flowing out of sight, Thy nestled homes and sun-illumined towers? Gazing upon the sunset's high-heaped gold,Its crags of opal and of chrysolite, Its deeps on deeps of glory, that unfold Still brightening abysses, And blazing precipices,Whence but a scanty leap it seems to heaven, 10 Sometimes a glimpse is givenOf thy more gorgeous realm, thy more unstinted blisses.O Land of Quiet! to thy shore the surf Of the perturbed Present rolls and sleeps;Our storms breathe soft as June upon thy turf And lure

Si Descendero In Infernum, Ades Si Descendero In Infernum, Ades

Si Descendero In Infernum, Ades
O wandering dim on the extremest edge Of God's bright providence, whose spirits sighDrearily in you, like the winter sedge That shivers o'er the dead pool stiff and dry, A thin, sad voice, when the bold wind roars by From the clear North of Duty,--Still by cracked arch and broken shaft I traceThat here was once a shrine and holy place Of the supernal Beauty, A child's play-altar reared of stones and moss, With wilted flowers for offering laid across,Mute recognition of the all-ruling Grace.How far are ye from the innocent, from those Whose hearts are as a little lane serene,Smooth-heaped