Alcyone

by Archibald Lampman


 

 

PECCAVI, DOMINE


 

O power to whom this earthly clime
    Is but and atom in the whole,
O Poet-heart of Space and Time,
    O Maker and Immortal Soul,
Within whose glowing rings are bound,                                   5
    Out of whose sleepless heart had birth
The cloudy blue, the starry round,
    And this small miracle of earth:

Who liv’st in every living thing,
    And all things are thy script and chart,                               10
Who rid’st upon the eagle’s wing,
    And yearnest in the human heart;
O Riddle with a single clue,
    Love, deathless, protean, secure,
The ever old, the ever new,                                                     15
    O Energy, serene and pure.

Thou, who art also part of me,
    Whose glory I have sometime seen.
O Vision of the Ought-to-be,
    O Memory of the Might-have-been,                                    20
I have had glimpses of thy way,
    And moved with winds and walked with stars.
But, weary, I have fallen astray,
    And, wounded, who shall count my scars?

O Master, all my strength is gone;                                          25
    Unto the very earth I bow;
I have no light to lead me on;
    With aching heart and burning brow,
I lie as one that travaileth
    In sorrow more than he can bear;                                       30
I sit in darkness as of death,
    And scatter dust upon my hair.

The God within my soul hath slept,
    And I have shamed the nobler rule;
O Master, I have whined and crept                                        35
    O Spirit, I have played the fool.
Like him of old upon whose head
    His follies hung in dark arrears,
I groan and travail in my bed,
    And water it with bitter tears.                                              40

I stand upon thy mountain-heads,
    And gaze until mine eyes are dim;
The golden morning glows and spreads;
    The hoary vapours break and swim.
I see thy blossoming fields, divine,                                        45
    Thy shining clouds, thy blessed trees—
And then that broken soul of mine—
    How much less beautiful than these!

O Spirit, passionless, but kind,
    Is there in all the world, I cry,                                               50
Another one so base and blind,
    Another one so weak as I?
O power, unchangeable, but just,
    Impute this one good thing to me,
I sink my spirit to the dust                                                        55
    In utter dumb humility.