Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, VALE ET AVE, by GEORGE SANTAYANA

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VALE ET AVE, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
First Line: The pagan, when he felt his days were done
Last Line: Hail, living fire, kind light of heaven, hail!
Subject(s): Paganism & Pagans; Christianity; Faith

The pagan, when he felt his days were done,
Drew o'er his swimming eyes a seemly veil,
Saying, Farewell, fair splendour of the sun!
Hail, Tartarus, Eternal darkness, Hail!

The dying Christian, through a mist of tears,
Strained his dim sight until he thought he saw
Heaven, the wage of all his straitened years,
The sanction manifest of awful law.

My soul was native to the Christian dream,
And in faith's faery garden oped her eyes;
And floating angels did her playmates seem,
On banks of incense in the purple skies.

When night o'erwhelmed the glories of that day
And drove my soul from her enchanted life,
She to the house of exile took her way,
Wrapped in her mantle, and disdaining strife.

Till from the portals she beheld the morn
Gilding the vineyards of an earthly vale,
And cried, Farewell, ye paling ghosts forlorn!
Hail, living fire, kind light of heaven, Hail!

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