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

by William Wilfred Campbell


 

The Last Prayer


 

MASTER of life, the day is done;
    My sun of life is sinking low;
I watch the hours slip one by one
    And hark the night-wind and the snow.
 
And must thou shut the morning out,
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    And dim the eye that loved to see;
Silence the melody and rout,
    And seal the joys of earth for me?
 
And must thou banish all the hope—
    The large horizon’s eagle-swim,
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The splendor of the far-off slope
    That ran about the world’s great rim, 

That rose with morning’s crimson rays
    And grew to noonday’s gloried dome,
Melting to even’s purple haze

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    When all the hopes of earth went home?
 
Yea, Master of this ruined house,
    The mortgage closed, outruns the lease;
Long since is hushed the grey carouse
    And now the windowed lights must cease.
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The doors all barred, the shutters up,
    Dismantled, empty, wall and floor,
And now for one grim eve to sup
    With death the bailiff at the door.
 
Yea, I will take the gloomward road
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    Where fast the Arctic nights set in,
To reach the bourne of that abode
    Which thou hast kept for all my kin.
 
And all life’s splendid joys forego,
    Walled in with night and senseless stone,
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If at the last my heart might know
    Through all the dark one joy alone.
 
Yea, thou mayst quench the latest spark
    Of life’s weird day’s expectancy,
Roll down the thunders of the dark
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    And close the light of life for me.
 
Melt all the splendid blue above
    And let these magic wonders die,
If thou wilt only leave me Love
     And Love’s heart-brother Memory.
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Though all the hopes of every race
    Crumbled in one red crucible,
And melted mingled into space,
    Yet, Master, thou wert merciful.