Frederick George Scott



The Hermit

A holy man, his soul to save
        By fleeing the world with all its sin,
Found out upon the shore a cave
        And dwelt therein,
Where all was silence but the sea
Which spoke of God continually.

The dawn would find him paying his court
        Before the golden throne of God,
While morning breezes round would sport,
        And on the sod
Would toss the incense-laden spray
That sparkled in the rising day.

At midnight when the sea was calm,
        His soul would rise among the stars
And thrill with wordless prayer and psalm,
        He knew no bars
Could close him round in that vast dome
Which God had for Eternal Home.

The hermit heard no jarring notes
        In nature’s ageless harmonies,
Not even sails on distant boats
        Disturbed his skies;
But on the horizon he could see
The great whales sporting in their glee.

So, day by day, and more and more,
        His spirit grew in love and peace;
Till every creature on the shore,
        With love’s increase,
Became to him a living friend
And taught him wisdom without end.

The seaweeds with their mermaid locks,
        The limpid pools where crayfish dwell,
The barnacles upon the rocks,
        And every shell
Revealed to him the tireless ways
God works in silent nights and days. [Page 142]

And often when the winds were cold
        Or whispered soft as infant’s breath,
The hermit deemed the men of old,
        Who passed in death,
Had come to view the haunts again
Where once they wandered by the main.

But most of all the hermit loved
        The clouds upon the face of heaven,
Which, in a long procession moved,
        By soft winds driven;
They seemed the thoughts which lurked behind
The workings of Eternal Mind.

Thus, never vexed by human strife,
        He plumbed Great Nature’s inner truth,
And found that unifying life
        Which, strong as youth,
Links all her varied forms in one
From tiny flower to stars and sun.

At even when the sunset’s flame
        Would drench the sky in red and gold,
White plumaged gulls in circles came,
        And were so bold
They cried, impatient to be fed,
With scant doles of the hermit’s bread.

Rich lichens shone with colours rare
        Upon the cavern’s walls and floor,
They grew in clusters here and there
        A golden store
Inwrought in the Creator’s plan,
Long, long before the birth of man.

The wild sea’s thunders were the praise
        From ocean’s heart to Him who reigns,
And time’s recurring nights and days,
        In rhythmic strains,
Voiced that subconscious self which lies
In green of earth and blue of skies. [Page 143]

Thus did the hermit live and pass,
        Unknown, not friendless, but apart,
Till kindly earth and kindlier grass
        Shrouded his heart,
And elsewhere he attained the goal
Which waits the universal soul. [Page 144]