The Legend of Jubal.

When Cain was driven from Jehovah’s land1
He wandered eastward, seeking some far strand2
Ruled by kind gods who asked no offerings3
Save pure field-fruits, as aromatic things4
To feed the subtler sense of frames divine5
That lived on fragrance for their food and wine :6
Wild joyous gods, who winked at faults and folly,7
And could be pitiful and melancholy.8
He never had a doubt that such gods were ;9
He looked within, and saw them mirrored there.10
Some think he came at last to Tartary,11
And some to Ind ; but, howsoe’er it be,12
His staff he planted where sweet waters ran,13
And in that home of Cain the Arts began.14
Man’s life was spacious in the early world :15
It paused, like some slow ship with sail unfurled16
Waiting in seas by scarce a wavelet curled ;17
Beheld the slow star-paces of the skies,18
And grew from strength to strength through centuries ;19
Saw infant trees fill out their giant limbs,20
And heard a thousand times the sweet birds’ marriage hymns.21
In Cain’s young city none had heard of Death22
Save him, the founder ; and it was his faith23
That here, away from harsh Jehovah’s law,24
Man was immortal, since no halt or flaw25
In Cain’s own frame betrayed six hundred years,26
But dark as pines that autumn never sears27
His locks thronged backward as he ran, his frame28
Rose like the orbèd sun each morn the same,29
Lake-mirrored to his gaze ; and that red brand,30
The scorching impress of Jehovah’s hand,31
Was still clear-edged to his unwearied eye,32
Its secret firm in time-fraught memory.33
He said, “ My happy offspring shall not know34
That the red life from out a man may flow35
When smitten by his brother.” True, his race36
Bore each one stamped upon his new-born face37
A copy of the brand no whit less clear ;38
But every mother held that little copy dear.39
Thus generations in glad idlesse throve,40
Nor hunted prey, nor with each other strove ;41
For clearest springs were plenteous in the land,42
And gourds for cups ; the ripe fruits sought the hand,43
Bending the laden boughs with fragrant gold ;44
And for their roofs and garments wealth untold45
Lay everywhere in grasses and broad leaves :46
They laboured gently, as a maid who weaves47
Her hair in mimic mats, and pauses oft48
And strokes across her hand the tresses soft,49
Then peeps to watch the poisèd butterfly,50
Or little burthened ants that homeward hie.51
Time was but leisure to their lingering thought,52
There was no need for haste to finish aught ;53
But sweet beginnings were repeated still54
Like infant babblings that no task fulfil ;55
For love, that loved not change, constrained the simple will.56
Till hurling stones in mere athletic joy57
Strong Lamech etruck and killed his fairest boy,58
And tried to wake him with the tenderest cries,59
And fetched and held befure the glazèd eyes60
The things they best had loved to look upon ;61
But never glance or smile or sigh he won.62
The generations stood around those twain63
Helplessly gazing, till their father Cain64
Parted the press, and said, “ He will not wake ;65
This is the endless sleep, and we must make66
A bed deep down for him beneath the sod ;67
For know, my sons, there is a mighty God68
Angry with all man’s race, but most with me.69
I fled from out His land in vain !— ’tis He70
Who came and slew the lad, for He has found71
This home of ours, and we shall all be bound72
By the harsh bands of His most cruel will,73
Which any moment may some dear one kill.74
Nay, though we live for countless moons, at last75
We and all ours shall die like summers past.76
This is Jehovah’s will, and He is strong ;77
I thought the way I travelled was too long78
For Him to follow me : my thought was vain !79
He walks unseen, but leaves a track of pain,80
Pale Death His footprint is, and He will come again !”81
And a new spirit from that hour came o’er82
The race of Cain : soft idlesse was no more,83
But even the sunshine had a heart of care,84
Smiling with hidden dread—a mother fair85
Who folding to her breast a dying child86
Beams with feigned joy that but makes sadness mild.87
Death was now lord of life, and at his word88
Time, vague as air before, new terrers stirred,89
With measured wing now audibly arose90
Throbbing through all things to some unknown close.91
Now glad Content by clutching Haste was torn,92
And Work grew eager, and Device was born.93
It seemed the light was never luved before,94
Now each man said “ ’Twill go and come no more.”95
No budding branch, no pebble from the brook,96
No form, no shadow, but new dearness took97
From the one thought that life must have an end ;98
And the last parting now began to send99
Diffusive dread through love and wedded bliss,100
Thrilling them into tiner tenderness,101
Then Memory disclosed her face divine,102
That like the calm nocturnal lights doth shine103
Within the soul, and shows the sacred graves,104
And shows the presence that no sunlight craves,105
No space, no warmth, but moves among them all ;106
Gone and yet here, and coming at each call,107
With ready voice and eyes that understand,108
And lips that ask a kiss, and dear responsive hand.109
Thus to Cain’s race death was tear-watered seed110
Of various life and action-shaping need.111
But chief the sons of Lamech felt the stings112
Of new ambition, and the furce that springs113
In passion beating on the shores of fate.114
They said, “ There comes a night when all too late115
The mind shall long to prompt the achieving hand,116
The eager thought behind closed portals stand,117
And the last wishes to the mute lips press118
Buried ere death in silent helplessness.119
Then while the soul its way with sound can cleave,120
And while the arm is strong to strike and heave,121
Let soul and arm give shape that will abide122
And rule above our graves, and power divide123
With that great god of day, whose rays must bend124
As we shall make the moving shadows tend.125
Come, let us fashion acts that are to be,126
When we shall lie in darkness silently,127
As our young brother doth, whom yet we see128
Fallen and slain, but reigning in our will129
By that one image of him pale and still.”130
For Lamech’s sons were heroes of their race :131
Jabal, the eldest, bore upon his face132
The look of that calm river-god, the Nile,133
Mildly secure in power that needs not guile.134
But Tubal-Cain was restless as the fire135
That glows and spreads and leaps from high to higher136
Where’er is aught to seize or to subdue ;137
Strong as a storm he lifted or o’erthrew,138
His urgent limbs like granite boulders grew,139
Such boulders as the plunging torrent wears140
And roaring rolls around through countless years.141
But strength that still on movement must be fed,142
Inspiring thought of change, devices bred,143
And urged his mind through earth and air to rove144
For force that he could conquer if he strove,145
For lurking forms that might new tasks fulfil146
And yield unwilling to his stronger will.147
Such Tubal-Cain. But Jubal had a frame148
Fashioned to finer senses, which became149
A yearning for some hidden soul of things,150
Some outward touch complete on inner springs151
That vaguely moving bred a lonely pain,152
A want that did but stronger prow with gain153
Of all good else, as spirits might be sad154
For lack of speech to tell us they are glad.155
Now Jabal learned to tame the lowing kine,156
And from their udders drew the snow-white wine157
That stirs the innocent joy, and makes the stream158
Of elemental life with fulness teem ;159
The star-browed calves he nursed with feeding hand,160
And sheltered them, till all the little band161
Stood mustered gazing at the sunset way162
Whence he would come with store at close of day.163
He soothed the silly sheep with friendly tone164
And reared their staggering lambs that, older grown,165
Followed his steps with sense-taught memory ;166
Till he, their shepherd, could their leader be167
And guide them through the pastures as he would,168
With sway that grew from ministry of good.169
He spread his tents upon the grassy plain170
That, eastward widening like the open main,171
Showed the first whiteness ’neath the morning star ;172
Near him his sister, deft, as women are,173
Plied her quick skill in sequence to his thought174
Till the hid treasures of the milk she caught175
Revealed like pollen mid the petals white,176
The golden pollen, virgin to the light.177
Even the she-wolf with young, on rapine bent,178
He caught and tethered in his mat-walled tent,179
And cherished all her little sharp-nosed young180
Till the small race with hope and terror clung181
About his footsteps, till each new-reared brood,182
Remoter from the memories of the wood,183
More glad discerned their common home with man.184
This was the work of Jabal : he began185
The pastoral life, and, sire of joys to be,186
Spread the sweet ties that bind the family187
O’er dear dumb souls that thrilled at man’s caress,188
And shared his pains with patient helpfulness.189
But Tubal-Cain had caught and yoked the fire,190
Yoked it with stones that bent the flaming spire191
And made it roar in prisoned servitude192
Within the furnace, till with force subdued193
It changed all forms he willed to work upon,194
Till hard from soft, and soft from hard, he won.195
The pliant clay he moulded as he would,196
And laughed with joy when mid tho heat it stood197
Shaped as his hand had chosen, while the mass198
That from his hold, dark, obstinate, would pass,199
He drew all glowing from the busy heat,200
All breathing as with life that he could beat201
With thundering hammer, making it obey202
His will creative, like the pale soft clay.203
Each day he wrought and better than he planned,204
Shape breeding shape beneath his restless hand.205
(The soul without still helps the soul within,206
And its deft magic ends what we begin.)207
Nay, in his dreams his hammer he would wield208
And seem to see a myriad types revealed,209
Then spring with wondering triumphant cry,210
And, lest the inspiring vision should go by,211
Would rush to labour with that plastic zeal212
Which all the passion of our life can steal213
For force to work with. Each day saw the birth214
Of various forms which, flung upon the earth,215
Seemed harmless toys to cheat the exacting hour,216
But were as seeds instinct with hidden power.217
The axe, the club, the spikèd wheel, the chain,218
Held silently the shrieks and moans of pain,219
And near them latent lay in share and spade,220
In the strong bar, the saw, and deep-curved blade,221
Glad voices of the hearth and harvest-home,222
The social good, and all earth’s joy to come.223
Thus to mixed ends wrought Tubal ; and they say,224
Some things he made have lasted to this day ;225
As, thirty silver pieces that were found226
By Noah’s children buried in the ground.227
He made them from mere hunger of device,228
Those small white discs ; but they became the price229
The traitor Judas sold his Master for ;230
And men still handling them in peace and war231
Catch foul disease, that comes as appetite,232
And lurks and clings as withering, damning blight.233
But Tubal-Cain wot not of treachery,234
Or greedy lust, or any ill to be235
Save the one ill of sinking into nought,236
Banished from action and act-shaping thought.237
He was the sire of swift-transforming skill,238
Which arms for conquest man’s ambitious will ;239
And round him gladly, as his hammer rung,240
Gathered the elders and the growing young :241
These handled vaguely and those plied the tools,242
Till, happy chance begetting conscious rules,243
The home of Cain with industry was rife,244
And glimpses of a strong persistent life,245
Panting through generations as one breath,246
And filling with its soul the blank of death.247
Jubal, too, watched the hammer, till his eyes,248
No longer following its fall or rise,249
Seemed glad with something that they could not see,250
But only listened to—some melody,251
Wherein dumb longings inward speech had found,252
Won from the common store of struggling sound.253
Then, as the metal shapes more various grew,254
And, hurled upon each other, resonance drew,255
Each gave new tones, the revelations dim256
Of some external soul that spoke for him :257
The hollow vessel’s clang, the clash, the boom,258
Like light that makes wide spiritual room259
And skiey spaces in the spaceless thought,260
To Jubal such enlarged passion brought261
That love, hope, rage, and all experience,262
Were fused in vaster being, fetching thence263
Concords and discords, cadences and cries264
That seemed from some world-shrouded soul to rise,265
Some rapture more intense, some mightier rage,266
Some living sea that burst the bounds of man’s brief age.267
Then with such blissful trouble and glad care268
For growth within unborn as mothers bear,269
To the far woods he wandered, listening,270
And heard the birds their little stories sing271
In notes whose rise and fall seem melted speech272
Melted with teare, smiles, glances—that can reach273
More quickly through our frame’s deep-winding night,274
And without thought raise thought’s best fruit, delight.275
Pondering, he sought his home again and heard276
The fluctuant changes of the spoken word :277
The deep remonstrance and the argued want,278
Insistent first in close monotonous chant,279
Next leaping upward to defiant stand280
Or downward beating like the resolute hand ;281
The mother’s call, the children’s answering cry,282
The laugh’s light cataract tumbling from on high ;283
The suasive repetitions Jabal taught,284
That timid browsing cattle homeward brought ;285
The clear-winged fugue of echoes vanishing ;286
And through them all the hammer’s rhythmic ring.287
Jubal sat lonely, all around was dim,288
Yet his face glowed with light revealed to him :289
For as the delicate stream of odour wakes290
The thought-wed sentience and some image makes291
From out the mingled fragments of the past,292
Finely compact in wholeness that will last,293
So streamed as from the body of each sound294
Subtler pulsations, swift as warmth, which found295
All prisoned germs and all their powers unbound,296
Till thought self-luminous flamed from memory,297
And in creative vision wandered free.298
Then Jubal, standing, rapturous arms upraised,299
And on the dark with eager eyes he gazed,300
As had some manifested god been there :301
It was his thought he saw ; the presence fair302
Of unachieved achievement, the high task,303
The mighty unborn spirit that doth ask304
With irresistible cry for blood and breath,305
Till feeding its great life we sink in death.306
He said, “ Were now those mighty tones and cries307
That from the giant soul of earth arise,308
Those groans of some great travail heard from far,309
Some power at wrestle with the things that are,310
Those sounds which vary with the varying form311
Of clay and metal, and in sightless swarm312
Fill the wide space with tremors : were these wed313
To human voices with such passion fed314
As does but glimmer in our common speech,315
But might flame out in tones whose changing reach,316
Surpassing meagre need, informs the sense317
With fuller union, finer difference318
Were this great vision, now obscurely bright319
As morning hills that melt in new-poured light,320
Wrought into solid form and living sound,321
Moving with ordered throb and sure rebound,322
Then——Nay, I Jubal will that work begin !323
The generations of our race shall win324
New life, that grows from out the heart of this,325
As spring from winter, or as lovers’ bliss326
From out the dull unknown of unwaked energies.”327
Thus he resolved, and in the soul-fed light328
Of coming ages waited through the night,329
Watching for that near dawn whose chiller ray330
Showed but the unchanged world of yesterday ;331
Where all the order of his dream divine332
Lay like Olympian forms within the mine ;333
Where fervour that could fill the earthly round334
With thronged joys of form-begotten sound335
Must shrink intense within the patient power336
That lonely labours through the niggard hour.337
Such patience have the heroes who begin,338
Sailing the first toward lands which others win.339
Jubal must dare as great beginners dare,340
Strike form’s first way in matter rude and bare,341
And yearning vaguely toward the plenteous quire342
Of the world’s harvest, make one poor small lyre.343
He made it, and from out its measured frame344
Drew the harmonic soul, whose answers came345
With guidance sweet and lessons of delight346
Teaching to ear and hand the blissful Right,347
Where strictest law is gladness to the sense,348
And all desire bends toward obedience.349
Then Jubal poured his triumph in a song350
The rapturous word that rapturous notes prolong351
As radiance streams from smallest things that burn,352
Or thought of loving into love doth turn.353
And still his lyre gave companionship354
In sense-taught concert as of lip with lip.355
Alone amid the hills at first he tried356
His winged song ; then with adoring pride357
And bridegroom’s joy at leading forth his bride,358
He said, “ This wonder which my soul hath found,359
This heart of music in the might of sound,360
Shall forthwith be the share of all our race361
And like the morning gladden common space :362
The song shall spread and swell as rivers do,363
And I will teach our youth with skill to woo364
This living lyre, to know its secret will,365
Its fine division of the good and ill.366
So shall men call me sire of harmony,367
And where great Song is, there my life shall be.”368
Thus glorying as a god beneficent,369
Forth from his solitary joy he went370
To bless mankind. It was at evening,371
When shadows lengthen from each westward thing,372
When imminence of change makes sense more fine373
And light seems holier in its grand decline.374
The fruit-trees wore their studded coronal,375
Earth and her children were at festival,376
Glowing as with one heart and one consent377
Thought, love, trees, rocks, in sweet warm radiance blent.378
The tribe of Cain was resting on the ground,379
The various ages wreathed in one broad round.380
Here lay, while children peeped o’er his huge thighs,381
The sinewy man embrowned by centuries ;382
Here the broad-bosomed mother of the strong383
Looked, like Demeter, placid o’er the throng384
Of young lithe forms whose rest was movement too385
Tricks, prattle, nods, and laughs that lightly flew,386
And swayings as of flower-beds where Love blew.387
For all had feasted well upon the flesh388
Of juicy fruits, on nuts, and honey fresh,389
And now their wine was health-bred merriment,390
Which through the generations circling went,391
Leaving none sad, for even father Cain392
Smiled as a Titan might, despising pain.393
Jabal sat circled with a playful ring394
Of children, lambs and whelps, whose gambolling,395
With tiny hoofs, paws, hands, and dimpled feet,396
Made barks, bleats, laughs, in pretty hubbub meet.397
But Tubal’s hammer rang from far away,398
Tubal alone would keep no holiday,399
His furnace must not slack for any feast,400
For of all hardship work he counted least ;401
He scorned all rest but sleep, where every dream402
Made his repose more potent action seem.403
Yet with health’s nectar some strange thirst was blent,404
The fateful growth, the unnamed discontent,405
The inward shaping toward some unborn power,406
Some deeper-breathing act, the being’s flower.407
After all gestures, words, and speech of eyes,408
The soul had more to tell, and broke in sighs.409
Then from the east, with glory on his head410
Such as low-slanting beams on corn-waves spread,411
Came Jubal with his lyre : there mid the throng,412
Where the blank space was, poured a solemn song,413
Touching his lyre to full harmonic throb414
And measured pulse, with cadences that sob,415
Exult and cry, and search the inmost deep416
Where the dark sources of new passion sleep.417
Joy took the air, and took each breathing soul,418
Embracing them in one entranced whole,419
Yet thrilled each varying frame to various ends,420
As Spring new-waking through the creatures sends421
Or rage or tenderness ; more plenteous life422
Here breeding dread, and there a fiercer strife.423
He who had lived through twice three centuries,424
Whose months monotonous, like trees on trees425
In hoary forests, stretched a backward maze,426
Dreamed himself dimly through the travelled days427
Till in clear light he paused, and felt the sun428
That warmed him when he was a little one ;429
Knew that true heaven, the recovered past,430
The dear small Known amid the Unknown vast,431
And in that heaven wept. But younger limbs432
Thrilled toward the future, that bright land which swims433
In western glory, isles and streams and bays,434
Where hidden pleasures float in golden haze.435
And in all these the rhythmic influence,436
Sweetly o’ercharging the delighted sense,437
Flowed out in movements, little waves that spread438
Enlarging, till in tidal union led439
The youths and maidens both alike long-tressed,440
By grace-inspiring melody possessed,441
Rose in slow dunce, with beauteous floating swerve442
Of limbs and hair, and many a melting curve443
Of ringèd feet swayed by each close-linked palm :444
Then Jubal poured more rapture in his psalm,445
The dance fired music, music fired the dance,446
The glow diffusive lit each countenance,447
Till all the circling tribe arose and stood448
With glad yet awful shock of that mysterious good.449
Even Tubal caught the sound, and wondering came,450
Urging his sooty bulk like smoke-wrapt flame451
Till he could see his brother with the lyre,452
The work for which he lent his furnace-fire453
And diligent hammer, witting nought of this454
This power in metal shape which made strange bliss,455
Entering within him like a dream full-fraught456
With new creations finished in a thought.457
The sun had sunk, but music still was there,458
And when this ceased, still triumph filled the air :459
It seemed the stars were shining with delight460
And that no night was ever like this night.461
All clung with praise to Jubal : some besought462
That he would teach them his new skill ; some caught,463
Swiftly as smiles are caught in looks that meet,464
The tone’s melodic change and rhythmic beat :465
’Twas easy following where invention trod466
All eyes can see when light flows out from God.467
And thus did Jubal to his race reveal468
Music their larger soul, where woe and weal469
Filling the resonant chords, the song, the dance,470
Moved with a wider-wingèd utterance.471
Now many a lyre was fashioned, many a song472
Raised echoes new, old echoes to prolong,473
Till things of Jubal’s making were so rife,474
Hearing myself,” he said, “ hems in my life,475
And I will get me to some far-off land,476
Where higher mountains under heaven stand,477
And touch the blue at rising of the stars,478
Whose song they hear where no rough mingling mars479
The great clear voices. Such lands there must be,480
Where varying forms make varying symphony481
Where other thunders roll amid the hills,482
Some mightier wind a mightier forest fills483
With other strains through other-shapen boughs ;484
Where bees and birds and beasts that hunt or browse485
Will teach me songs I know not. Listening there,486
My life shall grow like trees both tall and fair487
That spread and rise and bloom toward fuller fruit each year.”488
He took a raft, and travelled with the stream489
Southward for many a league, till he might deem490
He saw at last the pillars of the sky,491
Beholding mountains whose white majesty492
Rushed through him as new awe, and made now song493
That swept with fuller wave the chords along,494
Weighting his voice with decp religious chime,495
The iteration of slow chant sublime.496
It was the region long inhabited497
By all the race of Seth, and Jubal said :498
Here have I found my thirsty soul’s desire,499
Eastward the hills touch heaven, and evening’s fire500
Flames through deep waters ; I will take my rest,501
And feed anew from my great mother’s breast,502
The sky-clasped Earth, whose voices nurture me503
As the flowers’ sweetness doth the honey-bee.”504
He lingered wandering for many an age,505
And sowing music made high heritage506
For generations far beyond the Flood507
For the poor late-begotten human brood508
Born to life’s weary brevity and perilous good.509
And ever as he travelled he would climb510
The farthest mountain, yet the heavenly chime,511
The mighty tolling of the far-off spheres512
Beating their pathway, never touched his ears.513
But wheresoe’er he rose the heavens rose,514
And the far-gazing mountain could disclose515
Nought but a wider earth ; until one height516
Showed him the ocean stretched in liquid light,517
And he could hear its multitudinous roar,518
Its plunge and hiss upon the pebbled shore :519
Then Jubal silent sat, and touched his lyre no more.520
He thought, “ The world is great, but I am weak,521
And where the sky bends is no solid peak522
For me to stand on, but this panting sea523
Which sobs as if it stored all life to be.524
New voices come to me where’er I roam,525
My heart too widens with its widening home :526
But song grows weaker, and the heart must break527
For lack of voice, or fingers that can wake528
The lyre’s full answer ; nay, these chords would be529
Too poor to speak the gathering mystery.530
The former songs seem little, yet no more531
Can soul, hand, voice, with interchanging lore532
Tell what tho earth is saying unto me :533
The secret is too great, I hear confusedly.534
No farther will I travel : once again535
My brethren I will see, and that fair plain536
Where I and Song were born. There fresh-voiced youth537
Will pour my strains with all the early truth538
Which now abides not in my voice and hands,539
But only in the soul, the will that stands540
Helpless to move. My tribe will welcome me,541
Jubal, the sire of all their melody.”542
The way was weary. Many a date-palm grew,543
And shook out clustered gold against the blue,544
While Jubal, guided by the steadfast spheres,545
Sought the dear home of those first eager years,546
When, with fresh vision fed, the fuller will547
Took living outward shape in pliant skill ;548
For still he hoped to find the former things,549
And the warm gladness recognition brings.550
His footsteps erred among the mazy woods551
And long illusive sameness of the floods,552
Winding and wandering. Through far regions, strange553
With Gentile homes and faces, did he range,554
And left his music in their memory,555
And left at last, when nought besides would free556
His homeward steps from clinging hands and cries,557
The ancient lyre. And now in ignorant eyes558
No sign remained of Jubal, Lamech’s son,559
That mortal frame wherein was first begun560
The immortal life of song. His withered brow561
Pressed over eyes that held no fire-orbs now,562
His locks streamed whiteness on the hurrying air,563
The unresting soul had worn itself quite bare564
Of beauteous token, as the outworn might565
Of oaks slow dying, gaunt in summer’s light.566
His full deep voice toward thinnest treble ran :567
He was the rune-writ story of a man.568
And so at last he neared the well-known land,569
Could see the hills in ancient order stand570
With friendly faces whose familiar gaze571
Looked through the sunshine of his childish days,572
Knew the deep-shadowed folds of hanging woods,573
And seemed to see the self-same insect broods574
Whirling and quivering o’er the flowers, to hear575
The selfsame cuckoo making distance near.576
Yes, the dear Earth, with mother’s constancy,577
Met and embraced him, and said, “ Thou art he !578
This was thy cradle, here my breast was thine,579
Where feeding, thou didst all thy life entwine580
With my sky-wedded life in heritage divine.”581
But wending ever through the watered plain,582
Firm not to rest save in the home of Cain,583
He saw dread Change, with dubious face and cold584
That never kept a welcome for the old,585
Like some strange heir upon the hearth, arise586
Saying “ This home is mine.” He thought his eyes587
Mocked all deep memories, as things new made,588
Usurping sense, make old things shrink and fade589
And seem ashamed to meet the staring day.590
His memory saw a small foot-trodden way,591
His eyes a broad far-stretching paven road592
Bordered with many a tomb and fair abode ;593
The little city that once nestled low594
As buzzing groups about some central glow,595
Spread like a murmuring crowd o’er plain and steep,596
Or monster huge in heavy-breathing sleep.597
His heart grew faint, and tremblingly he sank598
Close by the wayside on a weed-grown bank,599
Not far from where a new-raised temple stood,600
Sky-roofed, and fragrant with wrought cedar-wood.601
The morning sun was high ; his rays fell hot602
On this hap-chosen, dusty, common spot,603
On the dry withered grass and withered man :604
The wondrous frame where melody began605
Lay as a tomb defaced that no eye cared to scan.606
But while he sank far music reached his ear.607
He listened until wonder silenced fear608
And gladness wonder ; for the broadening stream609
Of sound advancing was his early dream,610
Brought like fulfilment of forgotten prayer ;611
As if his soul, breathed out upon the air,612
Had held the invisible seeds of harmony613
Quick with the various strains of life to be.614
He listened : the sweet mingled difference615
With charm alternate took the mecting sense ;616
Then bursting like some shield-broad lily red,617
Sudden and near the trumpet’s notes out-spread.618
And soon his eyes could see the metal flower,619
Shining upturned, out on the morning pour620
Its incense audible ; could see a train621
From out the street slow-winding on the plain622
With lyres and cymbals, flutes and psalteries,623
While men, youths, maids, in concert sang to these624
With various throat, or in succession poured,625
Or in full volume mingled. But one word626
Ruled each recurrent rise and answering fall,627
As when the multitudes adoring call628
On some great name divine, their common soul,629
The common need, love, joy, that knits them in one whole.630
The word was “ Jubal ! ”.... “ Jubal ” filled the air631
And seemed to ride aloft, a spirit there,632
Creator of the quire, the full-fraught strain633
That grateful rolled itself to him again.634
The aged man adust upon the bank635
Whom no eye saw—at first with rapture drank636
The bliss of music, then, with swelling heart,637
Felt, this was his own being’s greater part,638
The universal joy once born in him.639
But when the train, with living face and limb640
And vocal breath, came nearer and more near,641
The longing grew that they should hold him dear ;642
Him, Lamech’s son, whom all their fathers knew,643
The breathing Jubal—him, to whom their love was due.644
All was forgotten but the burning need645
To claim his fuller self, to claim the deed646
That lived away from him, and grew apart,647
While he as from a tomb, with lonely heart,648
Warmed by no meeting glance, no hand that pressed,649
Lay chill amid the life his life had blessed.650
What though his song should spread from man’s small race651
Out through the myriad worlds that people space,652
And make the heavens one joy-diffusing quire ?—653
Still mid that vast would throb the keen desire654
Of this poor aged flesh, this eventide,655
This twilight soon in darkness to subside,656
This little pulse of self that, having glowed657
Through thrice three centuries, and divinely strowed658
The light of music through the vague of sound,659
Ached smallness still in good that had no bound.660
For no eye saw him, while with loving pride661
Each voice with each in praise of Jubal vied.662
Must he in conscious trance, dumb, helpless lie663
While all that ardent kindred passed him by ?664
His flesh cried out to live with living men665
And join that soul which to the inward ken666
Of all the hymning train was present there.667
Strong passion’s daring sees not aught to dare :668
The frost-locked starkness of his frame low-bent,669
His voice’s penury of tones long spent,670
He felt not ; all his being leaped in flame671
To meet his kindred as they onward came672
Slackening and wheeling toward the temple’s face :673
He rushed before them to the glittering space,674
And, with a strength that was but strong desire,675
Cried, “ I am Jubal, I !. ...I made the lyre !”676
The tones amid a lake of silence fell677
Broken and strained, as if a feeble bell678
Had tuneless pealed the triumph of a land679
To listening crowds in expectation spanned.680
Sudden came showers of laughter on that lake ;681
They spread along the train from front to wake682
In one great storm of merriment, while he683
Shrank doubting whether he could Jubal be,684
And not a dream of Jubal, whose rich vein685
Of passionate music came with that dream-pain,686
Wherein the sense slips off from each loved thing,687
And all appearance is mere vanishing.688
But ere the laughter died from out the rear,689
Anger in front saw profanation near ;690
Jubal was but a name in each man’s faith691
For glorious power untouched by that slow death692
Which creeps with creeping time ; this too, the spot,693
And this the day, it must be crime to blot,694
Even with scoffing at a madman’s lie :695
Jubal was not a name to wed with mockery.696
Two rushed upon him : two, the most devout697
In honour of great Jubal, thrust him out,698
And beat him with their flutes. ’Twas little need ;699
He strove not, cried not, but with tottering speed,700
As if the scorn and howls were driving wind701
That urged his body, serving so the mind702
Which could but shrink and yearn, he sought the screen703
Of thorny thickets, and there fell unseen.704
The immortal name of Jubal filled the sky,705
While Jubal lonely laid him down to die.706
He said within his soul, “ This is the end :707
O’er all the earth to where the heavens bend708
And hem men’s travel, I have breathed my soul :709
I lie here now the remnant of that whole,710
The embers of a life, a lonely pain ;711
As far-off rivers to my thirst were vain,712
So of my mighty years nought comes to me again.713
Is the day sinking ?  Softest coolness springs714
From something round me : dewy shadowy wings715
Enclose me all around—no, not above716
Is moonlight there ?  I see a face of love,717
Fair as sweet music when my heart was strong :718
Yea—art thou come again to me, great Song ? ”719
The face bent over him like silver night720
In long-remembered summers ; that calm light721
Of days which shine in firmaments of thought,722
That past unchangeable, from change still wrought.723
And there were tones that with the vision blent :724
He knew not if that gaze the music sent,725
Or music that calm gaze: to hear, to see,726
Was but one undivided ecstasy :727
The raptured senses melted into one,728
And parting life a moment’s freedom won729
From in and outer, as a little child730
Sits on a bank and sees blue heavens mild731
Down in the water, and forgets its limbs,732
And knoweth nought save the blue heaven that swims.733
Jubal,” the face said, “ I am thy loved Past,734
The soul that makes thee one from first to last.735
I am the angel of thy life and death,736
Thy outbreathed being drawing its last breath.737
Am I not thine alone, a dear dead bride738
Who blest thy lot above all men’s beside ?739
Thy bride whom thou wouldst never change, nor take740
Any bride living, for that dead one’s sake ?741
Was I not all thy yearning and delight,742
Thy chosen search, thy senses’ beauteous Right,743
Which still had been the hunger of thy frame744
In central heaven, hadst thou been still the same ?745
Wouldst thou have asked aught else from any god,746
Whether with gleaming feet on earth he trod747
Or thundered through the skies, as other share748
Of mortal good, than in thy soul to bear749
The growth of song, and feel the sweet unrest750
Of the world’s spring-tide in thy conscious breast ?751
No, thou hadst grasped thy lot with all its pain,752
Nor loosed it any painless lot to gain753
Where music’s voice was silent ; for thy fate754
Was human music’s self incorporate :755
Thy senses’ keenness and thy passionate strife756
Were flesh of her flesh and her womb of life.757
And greatly hast thou lived, for not alone758
With hidden raptures were her secrets shown,759
Buried within thee, as the purple light760
Of gems may sleep in solitary night ;761
But thy expanding joy was still to give,762
And with the generous air in song to live,763
Feeding the wave of ever-widening bliss764
Where fellowship means equal perfectness.765
And on the mountains in thy wandering766
Thy feet were beautiful as blossomed spring,767
That turns the leafless wood to love’s glad home,768
For with thy coming melody was come.769
This was thy lot, to feel, create, bestow,770
And that immeasurable life to know771
From which the fleshly self falls shrivelled, dead,772
A seed primeval that has forests bred.773
It is the glory of the heritage774
Thy life has left, that makes thy outcast age :775
Thy limbs shall lie dark, tombless on this sod,776
Because thou shinest in man’s soul, a god,777
Who found and gave new passion and new joy,778
That nought but Earth’s destruction can destroy.779
Thy gifts to give was thine of men alone :780
’Twas but in giving that thou couldst atone781
For too much wealth amid their poverty.”—782
The words seemed melting into symphony,783
The wings upbore him, and the gazing song784
Was floating him the heavenly space along,785
Where mighty harmonies all gently fell786
Through veiling vastness, like the far-off bell,787
Till, ever onward through the choral blue,788
He heard more faintly and more faintly knew,789
Quitting mortality, a quenched sun-wave,790
The All-creating Presence for his grave.791