There are voices, spirit voices,
Sweetly sounding everywhere,
At whose coming earth rejoices,
And the echoing realms of air,
And their joy and jubilation
Pierce the near and reach the far,
From the rapid world's gyration
To the twinkling of the star.
One, a potent voice uplifting,
Stops the white cloud on its way,
As it drives with driftless drifting
O'er the vacant vault of day,
And in sounds of soft upbraiding
Calls it down the void inane
To the gilding and the shading
Of the mountain and the plain.
Airy offspring of the fountains,
To thy destined duty sail,
Seek it on the proudest mountains,
Seek it in the humblest vale;
Howsoever high thou fliest,
How so deep it bids thee go,
Be a beacon to the highest
And a blessing to the low.
When the sad earth, broken-hearted,
Hath not even a tear to shed,
And her very soul seems parted
For her children lying dead,
Send the streams with warmer pulses
Through that frozen fount of fears,
And the sorrow that convulses,
Soothe and soften down to tears.
Bear the sunshine and the shadow,
Bear the rain-drop and the snow,
Bear the night-dew to the meadow,
And to hope the promised bow,
Bear the moon, a moving mirror
For her angel face and form,
Bear to guilt the flashing terror
Of the lightning and the storm.
When thou thus hast done thy duty
On the earth and o'er the sea,
Bearing many a beam of beauty,
Ever bettering what must be,
Thus reflecting heaven's pure splendour
And concealing ruined clay,
Up to God thy spirit render,
And dissolving pass away.
And with fond solicitation,
Speaks another to the streams--
Leave your airy isolation,
Quit the cloudy land of dreams,
Break the lonely peak's attraction,
Burst the solemn, silent glen,
Seek the living world of action
And the busy haunts of men.
Turn the mill-wheel with thy fingers,
Turn the steam-wheel with thy breath,
With thy tide that never lingers
Save the dying fields from death;
Let the swiftness of thy currents
Bear to man the freight-fill'd ship,
And the crystal of thy torrents
Bring refreshment to his lip.
And when thou, O rapid river,
Thy eternal home dost seek,
When no more the willows quiver
But to touch thy passing cheek,
When the groves no longer greet thee
And the shore no longer kiss,
Let infinitude come meet thee
On the verge of the abyss.
Other voices seek to win us--
Low, suggestive, like the rest--
But the sweetest is within us
In the stillness of the breast;
Be it ours, with fond desiring,
The same harvest to produce,
As the cloud in its aspiring
And the river in its use.