Lyrics of Earth

by Archibald Lampman





I passed through the gates of the city,
    The streets were strange and still,
Through the doors of the open churches
    The organs were moaning shrill.

Through the doors and the great high windows                      5
    I heard the murmur of prayer,
And the sound of their solemn singing
    Streamed out on the sunlit air;

A sound of some great burden
    That lay on the world’s dark breast,                                   10
Of the old, and the sick, and the lonely,
    And the weary that cried for rest.

I strayed through the midst of the city
    Like one distracted or mad.
"Oh, Life! Oh, Life!" I kept saying,                                          15
    And the very word seemed sad.

I passed through the gates of the city,
    And I heard the small birds sing,
I laid me down in the meadows
    Afar from the bell-ringing.                                                    20

In the depth and the bloom of the meadows
    I lay on the earth’s quiet breast,
The poplar fanned me with shadows,
    And the veery sang me to rest.

Blue, blue was the heaven above me,                                   25
    And the earth green at my feet;
"Oh, Life! Oh, Life!" I kept saying,
    And the very word seemed sweet.