Last Songs from Vagabondia

by Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey


 

ON THE STAIRS


 

FROM glory up to glory
On the great stairs of time,
I track the ghostly whisper
That bids a mortal climb.

I pass the gorgeous threshold

5
Of many an open door,
Where, luring and illusive,
The pageant gleams once more.

Up the Potomac Valley
I see the April come;

10
Here it is May in Paris;
Here is my Ardise home;

These are the Scituate marshes;
This is a Norman town;
These are the dikes of Grand Pré;—

15
Ah, tell no more, Renown!

I pass the open portals,
Irresolute and fond,—
Desert the masque of beauty
For Beauty’s self beyond.

20

For down the echoing stairway
Of being, I have heard
The faint immortal secret
Shut in a mortal word,—

The tawny velvet accent

25
Of Lilith, as she came
Into the great blue garden
And breathed her lover’s name.