To A. J. Scott

A poem by George MacDonald


I walked all night: the darkness did not yield.
Around me fell a mist, a weary rain,
Enduring long. At length the dawn revealed

A temple's front, high-lifted from the plain.
Closed were the lofty doors that led within;
But by a wicket one might entrance gain.

'Twas awe and silence when I entered in;
The night, the weariness, the rain were lost
In hopeful spaces. First I heard a thin

Sweet sound of voices low, together tossed,
As if they sought some harmony to find
Which they knew once, but none of all that host

Could wile the far-fled music back to mind.
Loud voices, distance-low, wandered along
The pillared paths, and up the arches twined

With sister arches, rising, throng on throng,
Up to the roof's dim height. At broken times
The voices gathered to a burst of song,

But parted sudden, and were but single rimes
By single bells through Sabbath morning sent,
That have no thought of harmony or chimes.

Hopeful confusion! Who could be content

Looking and hearkening from the distant door?
I entered further. Solemnly it went--

Thy voice, Truth's herald, walking the untuned roar,
Calm and distinct, powerful and sweet and fine:
I loved and listened, listened and loved more.

May not the faint harp, tremulous, combine
Its ghostlike sounds with organ's mighty tone?
Let my poor song be taken in to thine.

Will not thy heart, with tempests of its own,
Yet hear aeolian sighs from thin chords blown?

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