The Spirit’s Enigma.

Hark to the Spirit !1
I am the poet’s day-dream : in the air2
Stirred by my wings the voice of Genius speaks.3
I sat at mass with Petrarch, when he drew4
From Laura’s eyes the fount of melody.5
I sped the sigh that rocked St Anna’s walls ;6
Wrecked by the cruel world on madness’ shore,7
’Twas Tasso’s, for the lady of his lyre8
Wailing in music, like a sea-nymph’s shell9
Upon Calypso’s strand.’10
Hark to the Spirit !11
No clime is free from me. I am the bliss12
Pictured so oft in old Arcadia—13
The shaft which Venus feathered, and the bolt14
That shook Olympus. By soft Helle’s wave,15
I thrilled Leander upon Hero’s lips.16
Pale Sappho at Leucadia wept to me ;17
And, led o’er Latmos by her crescent’s light,18
I stole with Dian on Endymion’s rest.’19
Hark to the Spirit !20
I am the crown of empires ; yet the curse21
Of kings, who cannot rear the flower they plant22
In the hot air of palaces. That power23
Was mine which called forth Inez from her tomb,24
And set her, livid, on the throne of Spain,25
And bade the princes of the land bow down26
And pay her fealty. Mine, too, was the wail27
That woke in old Jerusalem, where lay28
The kingly Herod, Mariamne’s lord :29
’Twas I that watched her dust, when it was all30
He saw who left it without soul on earth.’31
Hark to the Spirit !32
I am the mate of Truth ; the strength of all33
Who rule their hearts by a diviner law34
Than consecrates a king. I was the light35
That shone about the forehead of young Ruth,36
Gilding the corn-blades which she bore ; the ray37
Which pierced the night of Naomi, when the two38
Would not be sundered. And, again, I streamed39
Broad day into the judgment-court where stood40
Firm Rachel by her lord, whose blanched lips cried41
To them who offered him a stranger’s help,42
My wife is here to do it !” ’43
Hark to the Spirit !44
Where’er a dirge is heard, my name is breathed.45
The cry of Eve came to me with the first46
On whom the Shadow fell in Paradise.47
I sat with Rizpah watching by her slain.48
With David did I weep o’er Absalom.49
And, last, where pierced the thorns on Calvary,50
There knelt I with the “ Woman” at the Cross.’51