Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ODE TO THE SETTING SUN: PRELUDE, by FRANCIS THOMPSON



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ODE TO THE SETTING SUN: PRELUDE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The wailful sweetness of the violin
Last Line: Sweet with wild wings that pass, that pass away!
Subject(s): Cross, The


THE wailful sweetness of the violin
Floats down the hushed waters of the wind,
The heart-strings of the throbbing harp begin
To long in aching music. Spirit-pined,

In wafts that poignant sweetness drifts, until
The wounded soul ooze sadness. The red sun,
A bubble of fire, drops slowly toward the hill,
While one bird prattles that the day is done.

O setting Sun, that as in reverent days
Sinkest in music to thy smoothed sleep,
Discrowned of homage, though yet crowned with rays,
Hymned not at harvest more, though reapers reap:

For thee this music wakes not. O deceived,
If thou hear in these thoughtless harmonies
A pious phantom of adorings reaved,
And echo of fair ancient flatteries!

Yet, in this field where the Cross planted reigns,
I know not what strange passion bows my head
To thee, whose great command upon my veins
Proves thee a god for me not dead, not dead!

For worship it is too incredulous,
For doubt -- oh, too believing-passionate!
What wild divinity makes my heart thus
A fount of most baptismal tears? -- Thy straight

Long beam lies steady on the Cross. Ah me!
What secret would thy radiant finger show?
Of thy bright mastership is this the key?
Is this thy secret, then? And is it woe?

Fling from thine ear the burning curls, and hark
A song thou hast not heard in Northern day;
For Rome too daring, and for Greece too dark,
Sweet with wild wings that pass, that pass away!





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