Like music heard in mellow chime,
The charm of her transforming time
Upon my senses steals
As softly as from sunny walls,
In day's decline, their shadow falls
Across the sleeping fields.
A fair, illumined book
Is nature's page whereon I look
While "autumn turns the leaves;"
And many a thought of her designs
Between those rare, resplendent lines
My fancy interweaves.
I dream of aborigines,
Who must have copied from the trees
The fashions of the day:
Those gorgeous topknots for the head,
Of yellow tufts and feathers red,
With beads and sinews gay.
I wonder if the saints behold
Such pageantry of colors bold
Beyond the radiant sky;
And if the tints of Paradise
Are heightened by the strange device
Of making all things die.
Yea, even so; for Nature glows
Because of her expiring throes,
As if around her tomb
Unmeet it were, - the look severe
That designates a common bier
Enwreathed in deepest gloom.
And so I meditate if aught
Can be so fair where death is not;
If Heaven's loveliness
Is born of struggle and decay;
And, but for funeral array,
Would it be beautiless?
Oh solemn, sad, sweet mystery
That Earth's unrivaled brilliancy
Is but her splendid pall!
That Heaven were not what it is
But for that crown of tragedies,
The sacrifice for all.
So not a charm would Zion lose
Were it bereft of sparkling hues
In gilded lanes and leas;
It would be bright though not a flower
Unclosed in its celestial bower,
And void of jeweled trees.
Yet, lily-like, one bloom I see,
Its name is his who died for me;
Whose matchless beauty shows
Perfection on its bleeding stem,
The blossom-bud of Bethlehem,
The Resurrection Rose.