Sagas of Vaster Britain: Poems of the Race, the Empire and the Divinity of Man

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

ODE TO SILENCE


 

THINE are the inaudible harmonies that keep
    The brooding breathings of the night’s glad lute,
When in those pauses ‘twixt her sleep and sleep
    All holy tunes be mute.

All beauteous seasons thou dost guard and bless,

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    The tremulous dawn, hushed noon, and cooling night,
Earth, air, and ocean, thy dim palaces,
    Filled with divine delight.

The fathomless wells of heaven’s deeps are thine;
    Thou watchest over night’s infinitudes;

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The starry vast, within whose chant divine
    No dissonant chord intrudes.

Thine are those oceans dim, untenanted,
    The unprescient homes of pregnancies to be,
Filling the lonley realms of mighty dread

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    With formless majesty.

Thou keepest the dewy caverns of the night
    About majestic risings of the moon,
When over the breathing woods her phosphor light
    Rises to silvern noon.

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Thou lovest those lonely avenues of light
    In the sun-kindled woods at early morn,
Upon the rosy rim of fading night
    And the cloudy meadows shorn;

Filling the joyous airs with summer fraught,

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    And morning’s slopes with dewy odors bland;
Here with glad Fancy and slow-wingèd Thought
    Thou wanderest hand in hand.

Thou holdest those intervals of peace that dwell
    About the caverned shores of ocean furled,

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When the long midnight hush or noonday swell
    Slumbers about the world.

But dearest of all thou lovest that pensive hour,
    That holy hour about the fringe of eve,
When sunset dreams in lonely woods have power

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    Imaginings to weave;—

When all the sunset world seems ages old
    In sad romance and achings of dead wrong,
And all the beauty of life is poignant gold
    In the hermit thrush’s song.

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Then down the long, dim memories of old woods
    Facing for ever the far-westering sun,
I’d dream for aye through hallowed solitudes
    Where magic echoes run;—

Seeking the majesty of peace wherein thou hidest,

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    Those golden rivers of being without alloy;
Knowing the infinite of dream is where thou bidest,
    Thou and that calm joy.