BETA

A lark flies above an industrial cityscape. The lark’s beak is open and it appears to be vocalizing. Black fumes rise out of several buildings. The sun illuminates the city from behind dark clouds. 1/2-page illustration contained within a single-ruled border.

A Lark’s Flight.

In the quiet city park,1
Between the dawn and the dark,2
Loud and clear,3
That all may hear,4
Sings the lark.5
Beyond the low black line6
Of trees the dawn peeps red ;7
Clouds blow woolly and fine8
In the blue lift overhead ;9
Out of the air is shaken10
A fresh and glistening dew,11
And the city begins to waken,12
And tremble through and through.13
See ! (while through street and lane14
The people pour again,15
And lane and alley and street16
Grow hoarse to a sound of feet),17
Here and there18
A human shape comes, dark19
Against the cool white air,20
Flitting across the park ;21
While over the dew-drench’d green,22
Singing his Hark, oh ! hark !”23
Hovering, hovering, dimly seen,24
Rises the lark.25
Mystery ! O mystery26
Clear he sings to lightening day.27
Mystery ! O mystery !28
Up into the air with me ;29
Come away, come away !”30
Who is she that, wan and white,31
Shivering in the chilly light,32
Shadeth weary eyes to see33
Him who makes the melody ?34
She is nameless, she is dull,35
She has ne’er been beautiful,36
She is stain’d in brain and blood,37
Gross with mire, and foul with mud,—38
Thing of sorrow, what knows she39
Of the mighty mystery ?40
The lark sings sad and low :41
The city is dull and mean ;42
There is woe! there is woe !43
Never a soul is clean.44
The city is dark ; the wrong is deep ;45
Too late to moan—too late to weep !46
Tired, tired !— sleep, sleep !”47
Who is he, the stooping one,48
Smiling coldly in the sun ;49
Arms behind him lightly thrown,50
Pacing up and down alone ?51
’Tis the great philosopher,52
Smoothly wrapt in coat of fur,53
Soothly pondering, manwit wise,54
At his morning exercise.55
He has weigh’d the winds and floods ;56
He is rich in gather’d goods ;57
He is crafty, and can prove58
God is Brahma, Christ, nor Jove ;59
He is mighty, and his soul60
Flits about from pole to pole,61
Chasing signs of God about,62
In a pleasant kind of doubt,—63
What, to help the mystery,64
Sings the lark to such as he ?65
The lark cries,66
Praise to Nature’s plan !67
Year on year she plies68
Her toil of sun and skies,69
Till the beast flowers up in man ;70
Lord of effect and cause,71
Pallid and proud stalks he,72
Till the voice in the cloud cries, ‘ Pause !’73
And he pauses bitterly74
On the verge of the mystery.”75
O, loud and clear, that all may hear,76
Rising higher with Hark, oh ! hark !”77
Higher, higher, higher, higher,78
Quivering as the dull red fire79
Of dawn grows brighter, cries the lark ;80
And they who listen there while he81
Singeth loud of mystery,82
Interpret him in undertone83
With a meaning of their own,84
Measuring his melody85
By their own souls’ quality.86
Tall and stately, fair and sweet,87
Walketh maiden Marguerite,88
Musing there on maid and man,89
In pale mood patrician,90
To all she sees her eyes impart91
The colour of a maiden heart :92
Heart’s chastity is on her face ;93
She scents the air with nameless grace,94
And where she goes, with heart astir,95
Colour and motion follow her.96
What should the singer sing97
Unto so sweet a thing,98
But “ Oh ! my love loves me !99
And the love I love best is guarding the nest,100
While I cheer her merrily,—101
Come up high ! come up high ! to a cloud in the
sky !
102
And sing of your soul with me !”103
Elbows on the grassy green,104
Scowling face his palms between,105
Yonder gaunt thief meditates106
Treason deep against his mates ;107
For his great hands itch to hold108
Both the pardon and the gold.109
Still he listens unaware,110
Scowling round with sullen stare,111
Gnawing at his under lip,112
Pond’ring friends and fellowship,113
Thinking of a friendly thing114
Done to him in suffering,115
And of happy days and free116
Spent in that rough companie ;117
Till he seeks the bait no more,—118
And the lark is conqueror.119
For the lark says plain,120
Who sells his friend is mean ;121
Better hang than drain122
The poison’d gold of the queen123
A whip for the rogue who’d tell124
The lives of his mates away125
Better the rope and the cell !126
Better the devils of hell !127
Come away ! come away !”128
O lark !  O lark !129
Up, up ! for it is light,130
The souls stream out of the dark,131
And the city’s spires gleam bright ;132
The world, the world, is awake again,133
Each wanders on his way,134
The wonderful waters break again135
In the white and perfect day.136
Nay ! nay ! descend not yet,137
But higher, higher, higher,138
Up through the air, and whet139
Thy wings in the solar fire !140
There, hovering in ecstasy,141
Sing, “ Mystery, O mystery !”142
O lark !  O lark ! hadst thou the might143
Beyond the cloud to wing thy way,144
To sing and soar in wondrous flight,145
It might be well for men this day.146
Beyond that cloud there is a zone,147
And in that zone there is a land,148
And in that land, upon a throne,149
A mighty Spirit sits alone,150
With musing cheek upon his hand.151
And all is still and all is sweet152
Around the silence of his seat,—153
Beneath the waves of wonder flow,—154
And coolly on his hands and feet155
The years melt down as falling snow.156
O lark !  O lark !157
Up !  for thy-wings are strong ;158
While the day is breaking,159
And the city is waking,160
Sing a song of wrong161
Sing of the weak man’s tears,162
Of the strong man’s agony,163
The passion, the hopes, the fears,164
The heaped-up pain of the years,165
The terrible mystery.166
O lark ! we might rejoice,167
Couldst reach that distant land,168
For we cannot hear His voice,169
And we often miss His hand ;170
And the heart of each is ice.171
To the kiss of sister and brother ;172
And we see that one man’s vice173
Is the virtue of another ;174
Yea, each that hears thee sing175
Translates thy song to speech,176
And lo !  the rendering177
Is so different with each.178
The gentle are oppressed,179
The foul man fareth best,180
Wherever we seek, our gain181
Is bitter, and salt with pain.182
In one soft note and long183
Gather our sense of wrong184
Rise up, O lark !  from the clod,185
Up, up, with soundless wings,—186
Rise up to God! rise up, rise up, to God !187
Tell Him these things !188