O'er the wide world I wander evermore,
Through wind and weather heedless and alone,
Alike through summer, and through winter hoar,
On cloud-capt mountain, by the sea-wash'd shore,
Seeking the star that riseth in the East.
O'er the wide world--the world that knows not why,
And stares with stupid scorn to see me go;
Whilst I with solemn secret face pass by,
To laugh in desert spots where none are nigh,
Laugh loud and shrill unto the winds, Ho! Ho!
For that which none but I and _it_ do know.
To think how when I find this lucky star,
And stand beneath it, like the Wise of old,
I shall mount upward on a golden car,
Girt round with glory unto worlds afar,
While Earth amazed the wonder shall behold,
That bears me unto happiness untold!
Hush! I'll not whisper it, lest some should hear,
And hurry on before me to the spot,
Leaving me bound for ever to this sphere,
Parted for ever from my child--I here,
She in the realm that I could enter not.
Hush! I must hurry on--for many nights
Have I sought for the star about the sky,
And found it not amid the myriad lights,
Greater and lesser with their satellites,
Flashing confusedly upon mine eye.
I must unravel every golden hair
Upon the brow of Night for what I seek,
Lift every straggler from its moony lair,
Lest too _the_ star should haply linger there,
Unnoted by mine eyes so faint and weak.
For as the Wise Men did in old time trace
The Holy Child by this same guiding star,
So I know well that by the Virgin's grace,
I too by it shall come unto the place
Where my sweet babe and its nurse-angels are.
Wearisome are the days, they mock me so,
Pouring down light that seems to bid me see,
Yet hides the starry pilot by its glow,
Whose light I thirst for, whilst light-fountains, flow
Around me like the swelling of the sea.
Wearisome are they, till the sun-god pales
Beneath the surges of the western wave,
And the last fold of his golden mantle trails
O'er the horizon where Earth's vision fails,
And space becomes a darkness and a grave.
I ofttimes think to curse the Day, that tries
To keep my babe hid in its envious breast,
Smit with its hair of gold, and large blue eyes,
Close hid within its mantle, careless of my sighs,
That night and day must wake it from its rest.
But Patience! when the sun is in the deep,
The Star will beam upon me suddenly,
And ere the sun-god waketh from his sleep,
The dear one shall be mine for whom I weep,
Mine, mine alone for all eternity.
They call me crazed--Ha! ha!--They little know
Who are the crazed of Earth, or they, or I--
They, by their greed of gold urged to and fro,
For petty pleasures bending God's soul low--
I, seeking for my star about the sky.
When it is found,--when it is found, how great
Will be the wonder of these blind and mad!
How great will be the wonder and the hate,
Waking to see the glorious truth too late
Will _he_, too, see his error, and be sad?
The wind sweeps weirdly o'er the heaven to-night,
Weirdly and black, as though from guilty deeds,--
From some sad shipwreck, it has taken flight,
Leaving the drowning in their direful plight--
Leaving the drown'd low waving in the weeds.
No stars, no stars again! Oh woe! again
Night drowns me in its darkness and its gloom,
And I must crouch amidst the wind and rain,
Without one hope-gleam lightening my pain;
All things are leagued to darken down my doom.
Perchance it is that I am growing weak,
And faint with wandering afar, afar,
And my dim eyes see not the thing I seek;
And yet I must not ask, I must not speak,
Nor tell--the secret of the Saviour star.
No! dumb,--dumb,--I shall set me down to scan
Each twinkling orb that rolleth up through space,
Hesper, heaven's loveliest, leading up the van--
To-morrow--yes! to-morrow I shall watch, and man
Shall see this wonder when I reach the place.
Will the babe know me--ope its sweet blue eyes--
And stretch its little arms to clasp me round?
Ah! yes, God will send knowledge from the skies,
In pity for my prayers, and tears, and sighs,
Angels will sing for joy that I have found
My treasure, and _he_--he will hear the sound!
Cold--cold it is--the wind is bitter chill--
And the rain falls like curses on my head--
No! no! not curses, for the drops say still
That there's an end to sorrow, and all ill
Flows from us like the water down a hill;
The star shall shine, and all the clouds be sped....
* * * * *
The sought-for Star uprose upon the dead.