It is the hither side, O Hope,
And afternoon; our shadows slope
Backward along the mountain cope.
The early morning was so sweet,
We seemed to climb with winged feet,
Like moving vapors fine and fleet,
Not more elastic poised and swung
Harebell or yellow adder's tongue,
Nor blither any bird that sung.
Thy light foot bent not any stem
Of frailest plant, whose diadem
In passing kissed thy garment's hem.
O Hope! so near me and so bright,
Thy foot above me on the height,
I might not touch thy garments white.
Thy lifted face, so fair, so rapt,
Like sunshine rolled and overlapped
Cliff, slope, and tall peak thunder-capped.
Thy voice to me like silver brooks
Down dropped from secret mountain nooks,
Still drew me, like thy radiant looks.
Nor scorching sun, nor beating rain,
Nor soil, nor grime, nor travel-stain,
With thee, were weariness or pain.
But now--it is the afternoon
Behind, the mountain summit's gloom:
Before, night's shadows gather soon.
O Hope! where art thou?--rough and steep
The way has grown; I faint and weep,
Beside me torrents toss and leap,
And far below, unseen for tears,
The river where life disappears,
Uplifts its thunder to my ears.
Canst thou, with thy serener eyes,
Over the flood God's paradise,
Behold in awful beauty rise?
Far off I seem to see thee stand,
Shading rapt eyes with radiant hand,
To scan that unknown glorious land.
The glory of that unseen place,
Gathers and brightens o'er thy face,
And fills thy looks with tender grace.
O, Hope divine '--I would behold
Those shining spires, those streets of gold:
But ah! the waves are deadly cold!
I hear the thunder and the sweep
Of waves; deep calleth unto deep;
The pathway ends, abrupt and steep.
Yet, soft beside that solemn shore,
I hear thy voice above its roar:
"Life is a dream-and it is o'er;
"The night is past--behold the day,
O new-born soul--O child of clay,
O bird uncaged and still astray;
"Take through the universe thy road;
All paths lead up to His abode,
Converging at the Mount of God!"