Erratic Soul of some great Purpose, doomed
To track the wild illimitable space,
Till sure propitiation has been made
For the divine commission unperformed!
What was thy crime? Ahasuerus' curse
Were not more stern on earth than thine in Heaven!
Art thou the Spirit of some Angel World,
For grave rebellion banished from thy peers,
Compelled to watch the calm, immortal stars,
Circling in rapture the celestial void,
While the avenger follows in thy train
To spur thee on to wretchedness eterne?
Or one of nature's wildest fantasies,
From which she flies in terror so profound,
And with such whirl of torment in her breast,
That mighty earthquakes yearn where'er she treads;
While War makes red its terrible right hand,
And Famine stalks abroad all lean and wan?
To us thou art as exquisitely fair
As the ideal visions of the seer,
Or gentlest fancy that e'er floated down
Imagination's bright, unruffled stream,
Wedding the thought that was too deep for words
To the low breathings of inspirèd song.
When the stars sang together o'er the birth
Of the poor Babe at Bethlehem, that lay
In the coarse manger at the crowded Inn,
Didst thou, perhaps a bright exalted star,
Refuse to swell the grand, harmonious lay,
Jealous as Herod of the birth divine?
Or when the crown of thorns on Calvary
Pierced the Redeemer's brow, didst thou disdain
To weep, when all the planetary worlds
Were blinded by the fulness of their tears?
E'en to the flaming sun, that hid his face
At the loud cry, "Lama Sabachthani!"
No rest! No rest! the very damned have that
In the dark councils of remotest Hell,
Where the dread scheme was perfected that sealed
Thy disobedience and accruing doom.
Like Adam's sons, hast thou, too, forfeited
The blest repose that never pillowed Sin?
No! none can tell thy fate, thou wandering Sphinx!
Pale Science, searching by the midnight lamp
Through the vexed mazes of the human brain,
Still fails to read the secret of its soul
As the superb enigma flashes by,
A loosed Prometheus burning with disdain.