Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, RESURRECTION; THE SOUL OF A BURIED BODY, by GEORGE SANTAYANA



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Rhyming Dictionary Search
RESURRECTION; THE SOUL OF A BURIED BODY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Methought that I was dead
Last Line: To see the starlight shining on the snows.
Subject(s): Rebirth; Immortality


Methought that I was dead,
Felt my large heart, a tomb within the tomb,
Cold, hope-untenanted,
Not thankless for this gloom.
For all I loved on earth had fled before me.
I was the last to die.
I heard what my soul hated tramping o'er me,
And knew that trouble stalked beneath the sky.
But now is loosed the mailed hand of Death
Clapped on my mouth. I seem to draw a breath
And something like a sigh.
I feel the blood again
Coursing within my body's quickened house,
Feel hands and throat and brain,
And dim thoughts growing plain,
Or dreams of thoughts. So spring might thaw the boughs
And from its winter's lethargy arouse
An oak's numb spirit. -- But hark! I seem to hear
A sound, like distant thunder.
Above the quaking earth it breaks, or under,
And cracks the riven sphere.
This vault is widened, I may lift my head,
Behold a ray! The sun! -- I was not dead.

THE ANGEL OF ETERNITY

Yes, dead. Be not affrighted.
Ages have passed. This world is not the same.
Thy lamp of life, relighted,
Burns with a purer flame.

THE SOUL

What lovely form art thou?
What spirit, voice, or face
Known and unknown? I cannot name thee now
Nor the long-vanished place
Where first I pledged thee some forgotten vow.
Dear mother or sweet son
Or young love dead or lost familiar friend,
Which of these all art thou, or all, or none,
Bright stranger, that dost bend
Thy glorious golden head,
A kindlier sun, above the wakened dead?

THE ANGEL

We are not strangers. 'T is the world was strange,
That rude antique parade of earth and sky,
That foolish pageant of mortality
And weary round of change.
Till this glad moment thou hast lived in dreams,
Nursed in a fable, catechised to croon
The empty science of a sun and moon
That with their dubious beams
Light the huge dusky stage of all that seems.
Believe it not, my own. Awake, depart
Out of the shades of hell,
Trusting the sacred spell
That falls upon thy strong perplexed heart,
The joy ineffable,
The nameless premonition and dire pang
Of love. Be free at last,
Free as the hopes that from thy sorrow sprang.
Forget the horror of the tyrant past,
Forget the gods, forget
The baleful shadow on the present cast
By all that is not yet.
Arise and follow me. Say not I seem
A shadow among shades,
A dryad's laugh amid the windy glades,
A swimmer's body guessed beneath the stream.
This is the dawn of day,
Thy dream-oppressed vision breaking through
Its icy hood of clay
And plunging deep into the balmy blue.
Bid thy vain cares adieu
And say farewell to earth, thy foster-mother.
She hath befooled thee long,
And fondly thought to smother
The sweet and cruel laughter of my lay
Which the stars sing together, and the throng
Of seraphs ever shout to one another.
Come, heaven-chosen brother,
Dear kinsman, come away.

THE SOUL

To what fields beside what rivers
Dost thou beckon me, fair love?
With no sprinkled stars above
Is high heaven seen? Or quivers,
With no changes of the moon,
Her bright path athwart the pool?
Is thy strange world beautiful?
Tell me true, before I shake
From my sense this heavy swoon.
Tell me true, lest I awake
Into deeper dreams, poor fool,
And rejoice for nothing's sake.

THE ANGEL

For mortals life and truth
Are things apart, nor when the first is done
Know they the other; for their lusty youth
Is madness, and their age oblivion.
But henceforth thou art one
With the supernal mind,
Not born in labour nor in death resigned,
The life of all that live,
The light by whose eclipse the world is blind,
The truth of all that know,
The joy for which we grieve,
And the untasted sweet that makes our woe.
Now thou hast drained the wine
Shatter the glass.
The music was divine,
Let the voice pass.
Linger not in the host
Of the long lost
Bidding the dying bring
Meal-cakes and fruit, and sing
To cheer thy ghost.
But be the living joy
That tunes all song,
The loves of girl and boy,
The hopes that throng
The unconquerable heart, defying wrong.
Seek for thine immortality of bliss
Not other brighter skies
Or later worlds than this,
But all that in this struggle is the prize,
The love that wings the kiss,
The truth the visions miss.

THE SOUL

My heaven lives, bright angel, in thine eyes.
As when, beside the Lake of Galilee,
John, o'er his meshes bent,
Looked up, and saw another firmament
When God said, Follow me;
So is my world transfigured, seeing thee,
And, looking in thine eyes, I am content,
And with thy sweet voice for all argument
I leave my tangled nets beside the sea.
Done is my feigned task,
Fallen the mask
That made me other, O my soul, than thee.
I have fulfilled my pain
And borne my cross,
And my great gain
Is to have known my loss.
Keep, blessed vision, keep
The sacred beauty that entranced my soul.
I have read; seal the scroll.
I have lived; let me sleep.

THE ANGEL

Behold, I close thine eyes
With the first touch of my benignant hands.
With consecrated brands
I light thy pyre and loose thy spirit's bands.
The eternal gods receive thy sacrifice,
The changeless bless thy embers.
May there arise from thence no wailing ghost
That shivers and remembers
The haunts he loved, where he hath suffered most.
The life that lived by change
Is dead, nor changeth more.
No eager, dull, oblivious senses pore
On portents dark and strange.
Thy first life was not life,
Nor was thy first death death.
Thy children took thy heritage of strife,
And thy transmutable breath
Passed to another heart that travaileth.
Now thou hast truly died;
Escaped, renounced, defied
The insensate fervour and the fret of being;
And thy own master, freed
From shame of murderous need,
Pure, just, all-seeing,
Now thou shalt live indeed.

THE SOUL

I pay the price of birth.
My earth returns to earth.
Hurry my ashes, thou avenging wind,
Into the vortex of the whirling spheres!
I die, for I have sinned,
Yea, I have loved, and drained my heart of tears.
And thou within whose womb,
Mother of nations, labouring Universe,
My life grew, be its tomb.
Thou brought'st me forth, take now my vital seed.
Receive thy wage, thou iron-hearted nurse,
Thy blessing I requite thee and thy curse.
Now shall my ashes breed
Within thy flesh for every thought a thought,
For every deed a deed,
For every pang I bore
An everlasting need,
For every wrong a wrong, and endless war.
All earthly hopes resigned
And all thy battle's spoils
I lay upon thine altar and restore;
But the inviolate mind
Is loosened from thy toils
By thy own fatal fires. I mount, I soar,
Glad Phoenix, from the flame
Into the placid heaven whence I came,
Floating upon the smoke's slow lurid wings
Into my native sky
To bear report of all this vanity
And sad offence of things,
Where with knowledge I may lie,
Veiled in the shadow of eternal wings.

THE ANGEL

If in the secret sessions of our love
Above the heavenly spheres,
Some stain upon the page of wisdom prove
Her earthly price of tears,
Cling closer, my beloved, that the beat
Of my unruffled heart
May tune thy own, its tenderer counterpart,
To noble courage, and from this high seat
Of our divine repose
Large consolation flow to mortal woes.
For 'neath the sun's fierce heat,
In midst of madness and inscrutable throes,
His heart is strong who knows
That o'er the mountains come the silent feet
Of Patience, leading Peace,
And his complainings cease
To see the starlight shining on the snows.





Other Poems of Interest...



Home: PoetryExplorer.net