The Lost Soul

A poem by George MacDonald

Look! look there!
Send your eyes across the gray
By my finger-point away
Through the vaporous, fumy air.
Beyond the air, you see the dark?
Beyond the dark, the dawning day?
On its horizon, pray you, mark
Something like a ruined heap
Of worlds half-uncreated, that go back:
Down all the grades through which they rose
Up to harmonious life and law's repose,
Back, slow, to the awful deep
Of nothingness, mere being's lack:
On its surface, lone and bare,
Shapeless as a dumb despair,
Formless, nameless, something lies:
Can the vision in your eyes
Its idea recognize?

'Tis a poor lost soul, alack!--
Half he lived some ages back;
But, with hardly opened eyes,
Thinking him already wise,
Down he sat and wrote a book;
Drew his life into a nook;
Out of it would not arise
To peruse the letters dim,
Graven dark on his own walls;
Those, he judged, were chance-led scrawls,
Or at best no use to him.
A lamp was there for reading these;
This he trimmed, sitting at ease,
For its aid to write his book,
Never at his walls to look--
Trimmed and trimmed to one faint spark
Which went out, and left him dark.--
I will try if he can hear
Spirit words with spirit ear!

Motionless thing! who once,
Like him who cries to thee,
Hadst thy place with thy shining peers,
Thy changeful place in the changeless dance
Issuing ever in radiance
From the doors of the far eternity,
With feet that glitter and glide and glance
To the music-law that binds the free,
And sets the captive at liberty--
To the clang of the crystal spheres!
O heart for love! O thirst to drink
From the wells that feed the sea!
O hands of truth, a human link
'Twixt mine and the Father's knee!
O eyes to see! O soul to think!
O life, the brother of me!
Has Infinitude sucked back all
The individual life it gave?
Boots it nothing to cry and call?
Is thy form an empty grave?

It heareth not, brothers, the terrible thing!
Sounds no sense to its ear will bring!
Let us away, 'tis no use to tarry;
Love no light to its heart will carry!
Sting it with words, it will never shrink;
It will not repent, it cannot think!
Hath God forgotten it, alas!
Lost in eternity's lumber-room?
Will the wind of his breathing never pass
Over it through the insensate gloom?
Like a frost-killed bud on a tombstone curled,
Crumbling it lies on its crumbling world,
Sightless and deaf, with never a cry,
In the hell of its own vacuity!

See, see yon angel crossing our flight
Where the thunder vapours loom,
From his upcast pinions flashing the light
Of some outbreaking doom!
Up, brothers! away! a storm is nigh!
Smite we the wing up a steeper sky!
What matters the hail or the clashing winds,
The thunder that buffets, the lightning that blinds!
We know by the tempest we do not lie
Dead in the pits of eternity!

Reader Comments

Tell us what you think of 'The Lost Soul' by George MacDonald

comments powered by Disqus

Home | Search | About this website | Contact | Privacy Policy