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THE WANDERER: 5. IN HOLLAND: MACROMICROS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: It is the star of solitude
Last Line: The sea-nymphs wander and weep.
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): Netherlands; Travel; Holland; Dutch People; Journeys; Trips

IT is the star of solitude,
Alight in yon lonely sky.
The sea is silent in its mood,
Motherlike moaning a lullaby,
To hush the hungering mystery
To sleep on its breast subdued.
The night is alone, and I.

It is not the scene I am seeing,
The lonely sky and the sea,
It is the pathos of Being
That is making so dark in me
This silent and solemn hour: --
The bale of baffled power,
The wail of unbaffled desire,
The fire that must ever devour
The source by which it is fire.

My spirit expands, expands!
I spread out my soul on the sea.
I feel for yet unfound lands,
And I find but the land where She
Sits, with her sad white hands,
At her golden broidery,
In sight of the sorrowful sands,
In an antique gallery,
Where, ever beside her, stands
(Moodily mimicking me)
The ghost of a something her heart demands
For a blessing which cannot be.

And broider, broider by night and day
The brede of thy blazing broidery!
Till thy beauty be wholly woven away
Into the desolate tapestry.
Let the thread be scarlet, the gold be gay,
For the damp to dim, and the moth to fray:
Weave in the azure, and crimson, and green!
Till the slow threads, needling out and in,
To take a fashion and form begin:
Yet, for all the time and toil, I see
The work is vain, and will not be
Like what it was meant to have been.

O woman, woman, with face so pale!
Pale woman, weaving away
A frustrate life at a lifeless loom,
Early or late, 't is of little avail
That thou lightest the lamp in the gloom.
Full well, I see, there is coming a day
When the work shall forever rest incomplete.
Fling, fling the foolish blazon away,
And weave me a winding-sheet!

It is not for thee, in this dreary hour,
That I walk, companionless here by the shore.
I am caught in the eddy and whirl of a power
Which is not grief, and is not love,
Though it loves, and grieves,
Within me, without me, wherever I move
In the going out of the ghostly eves,
And is changing me more and more.
I am not mourning for thee, although
I love thee, and thou art lost:
Nor yet for myself, albeit I know
That my life is flawed and crost:
But for that sightless, sorrowing Soul
That is feeling, blind with immortal pain,
All round, for what it can never attain;
That prisoned, pining, and passionate soul,
So vast, and yet so small;
That seems, now nothing, now all,
That moves me to pity beyond control,
And repulses pity again.
I am mourning, since mourn I must,
With those patient Powers that bear,
'Neath the unattainable stars up there,
With the pomp and pall of funeral,
Subject and yet august,
The weight of this world's dust: --

The ruined giant under the rock:
The stricken spirit below the ocean:
And the winged things wounded of old by the shock
That set the earth in motion.

Ah yet, ... and yet, and yet,
If She were here with me,
If she were here by the sea,
With the face I cannot forget,
Then all things would not be
So fraught with my own regret,
But what I should feel and see,
And seize it at last, at last, --
The secret known and lost in the past,
To unseal the Genii that sleep
In vials long hid in the deep;
By forgotten, fashionless spells held fast,
Where through streets of the cities of coral, aghast,
The sea-nymphs wander and weep.

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