Ode To The New Century.
The dial has pointed the hour and the hour has rounded the day,
The day has finished the year that dies with a century's birth;
Eastward the morning stars sing as they go their way:
"Lo! the Great Mother travaileth, a king is born to the earth!
King of a hundred years, and king of a million tombs,
Sovereign of infinite joys, keeper of countless tears;
Peace to the throneless dead, hail to the ruler who comes,
King of a million tombs, and king of a hundred years!"
Time and his tenant Death, for the space of a moment's flight
Stand on the bare, black ridge dividing eternities twain;
One looks back to his realm all waste in the hopeless night,
One with the eyes of hope sees it rebuilded again.
Behind are the gray, gleaned fields with their worthless stubble of graves,
Strewn with the thistles of sin, and the trampled chaff of desire;
Before are the acres of love, not furrowed by hands of slaves,
Not sown with sorrow and strife, not wasted with flood or with fire.
Great is the hour, my Soul, and great is the wonder to see;
Prophet-like dost thou look to yonder portentous sky
Where lo! the scroll is unfolding--the scroll of the great To Be:--
Look to the east, O Soul, and clear and strong be thine eye!
Look to the west where once waved the cherubic sword
Over man's Eden lost, and see in the heavens above
Not the angels of wrath bearing God's angry word,
But the angels of Mercy and Peace, the angels of Hope and of Love.
Great is the hour, O Soul, and great are the voices to hear--
Voices of choral stars, and the calling of deep unto deep
Like to the natal hour when rolling sphere upon sphere
Sprang from the bosom of God and sang of their limitless sweep!
Great is the hour, O Soul, and thou art a seer who looks
Far through the mystic night and seeth the great unseen,
Truth that to us is blind, and the lies of our prophets' books,
Heaven and Hell and the land called Life that lies between.
The region of shapes called Life, with shadows behind and before--
Shadows voiceless as Death, and dark as the sunless tomb,--
Shapes whose anguish and strife seem a glimpse of Hell's grim shore--
Shadows that gave them life and shadows that hail them home.
Great is the hour, O Soul, and great is the wonder to see!
Thou art alone with God as he writes on the future's page
Two words in letters of fire--(one Doom,--one Mystery,--
Alpha the last, and the first Omega) and names it an Age.
[December 31, 1900.]
Ode To The New Century. by Charles Hamilton Musgrove