Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SONG OF THE ELEMENTS, by MARY ANN BROWNE



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THE SONG OF THE ELEMENTS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I sit amidst the universe
Last Line: Of its own unvanquished power.
Alternate Author Name(s): Gray, James, Mrs.; Gray, Mary Anne Browne
Subject(s): Air; Earth; Fire; Universe; Water; World


FIRST VOICE.—EARTH
I sit amidst the universe,
As I've sate for ages gone,
And though God hath bound me with a curse,
I am bathed in the light of the sun;
And I bear within my bosom the pride
Of many a kingly throne,—
There the diamond and ruby are scattered wide,
And the changeless rocks are my zone;
And the mighty forest springs from my breast,
And the mountain doth upward dart,
And though the clouds are on its crest,
Its root is in my heart.
I am the mother of all things
That have filled me since life began;
The nursing mother of founts and springs,
The own true mother of man:
His limbs are formed from my finest clay,
And let him die by earth or sea,
He must perish and pass away,
And come again to me.
Oh, man is strong in his power and might,
But I, his mother am more strong;
He is mine by a parent's right—
Sisters! take up the song!

ALL THE ELEMENTS
We four dwell all apart, yet, still
We are bound by a viewless chain,
The thrones, that God hath given, we fill
Each with a separate reign.
Contending oft, like the kings of earth,
Triumphant for an hour;
Yet the fallen rising again, in the birth,
Of its own unvanquished power.

SECOND VOICE.—AIR
I lap the earth as with a robe,
And I bind it like a rim,
And the clouds that shadow o'er the globe
Upon my bosom swim.
And in the summer eve I play
O'er earth like a sportive child;
And in the winter night I sway
The world, with a tempest wild:
I dash on the rocks the helpless seas,
Like wine from a reveller's cup,
And the proud earth cannot hold her trees,
If I will to root them up.
And then I come in the autumn morn,
With a fresh and stirring voice,
And I shake in the valley the golden corn,
And the dying flowers rejoice:
I creep into the withering rose,
And lull it as if to sleep,
Then up I start from that false repose,
And its leaves to the cold earth sweep.
Man must breathe me, or he dies
The minion of my power,
I have supplied with the breath of sighs
His heart from his earliest hour:
And, like an unseen enemy,
I battle with the strong;
Such might as this is claimed by me,—
Sisters! take up the song!

ALL THE ELEMENTS
We four dwell all apart, yet, still
We are bound by a viewless chain;
The thrones that God hath given we fill,
Each with a separate reign.
Contending oft like the kings of earth,
Triumphant for an hour,
Yet the fallen rising again, in the birth
Of its own unvanquished power.

THIRD VOICE.—FIRE
I live in the light of the blazing sun,
And in the shining stars;
And restless o'er the world I run,
And nought my glory mars.
Silently, creep I thro' the earth,
'Midst many a precious stone,
And till the volcano gives me birth,
My being is unknown;
And in the tempest's glooming cloud,
I hide my burning wing,
And wait till the wind gives summons loud,
And then from my tent I spring!—
Like a conqueror from the ambush I come,
With a fatal glittering spear,
And with a quick and sudden doom,
Earth's mightiest things I sear.
I can strike man dead, if 'tis my will,
As a leaf falls from the tree,
'Tis I who makes his heart's pulse thrill,
He lives not without me.
Oh, man is a wondrous creature! our aid
Must make him stand or fall,
A thing of elements, and made
Dependant on them all!
He prides himself in the pomp and power,
That do to us belong;—
We laugh at him in his proudest hour;
Sisters! take up the song!

ALL THE ELEMENTS
We four dwell all apart, yet, still
We are bound by a viewless chain;
The thrones that God has given we fill,
Each with a separate reign;
Contending oft like the kings of earth,
Triumphant for an hour;
Yet the fallen rising again, in the birth
Of its own unvanquished power.

FOURTH VOICE.—WATER
I burst from the earth, but for my birth
I claim God's will alone,
Who made me queen of a realm serene,
And placed me on my throne;
My throne of sunken rocks and caves,
Where the crimson coral dwells,
Where I may let my weary waves
Sleep on the pearly shells;
And in vast rocks sometimes I'm pent,
Like a soul for some dark crime:
Till the prison at last is broken and rent,
And comes my rejoicing time.
And I float sometimes in a quiet river,
Under the cloud's passing shade,
And its broad breast doth in sunlight quiver,
In loveliness arrayed;
And, down in my depths, I let the light
Of the quiet blue sky dwell,
And the images of stars at night
Are seen in my lovely cell.
Sometimes in the north I lie,
Congealed, like a mighty isle,
Cold and unmoved 'neath the wintry sky,
Unwon by the light's faint smile.
And then at last there shines a day
Sunnily on my home,
And the icy bars to my path give way,
And thundering out I come!
And rush upon the fated bark,
With my waves in unprisoned glee,
And we whirl it down to the caverns dark,
That are treasure rooms for me!
In the desert vast, where the caravan
Is drooping for lack of shade,
Oh, how lordly, haughty man,
Is my dependant made!—
As much as when in his fragile ship
My waves did round him throng.
He dies if I do not bathe his lip.
Sisters! take up the song!

ALL THE ELEMENTS
We four dwell all apart, yet, still
We are bound by a viewless chain;
The thrones that God hath given we fill,
Each with a separate reign;
Contending oft like the kings of earth,
Triumphant for an hour,
Yet the fallen rising again, in the birth
Of its own unvanquished power.





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