Doomsday

If I can raise one ghost, why I will raise
And call up doomsday from behind the east.
Awake then, ghostly doomsday!
Throw up your monuments, ye buried men
That lie in ruined cities of the wastes!
Ye battle fields, and woody mountain sides,
Ye lakes and, oceans, and ye lava floods
That have o’erwhelmed great cities, now roll back!
And let the sceptred break their pyramids,
An earthquake of the buried shake the domes
Of arched cathedrals, and o’erturn the forests,
Until the grassy mounds and sculptured floors,
The monumental statues, hollow rocks,
The paved churchyard, and the flowery mead,
And ocean’s billowy sarcophagi,
Pass from the bosoms of the rising people
Like clouds! Enough of stars and suns immortal
Have risen in heaven: to-day, in earth and sea
Riseth mankind. And first, yawn deep and wide,
Ye marble palace-floors,
And let the uncoffined bones, which ye conceal,
Ascend, and dig their purple murderers up,
Out of their crowned death. Ye catacombs
Open your gates, and overwhelm the sands
With an eruption of the naked millions,
Out of old centuries! The buried navies
Shall hear the call, and shoot up from the sea,
Whose wrecks shall knock against the hollow mountains,
And wake the swallowed cities in their hearts.
Forgotten armies rattle with their spears
Against the rocky walls of their sepulchres:
An earthquake of the buried shakes the pillars
Of the thick-sown cathedrals; guilty forests,
Where bloody spades have dug ‘mid nightly storms;
The muddy drowning-places of the babes;
The pyramids, and bony hiding places,

* * *

“Thou rainbow on the tearful lash of doomsday’s morning star
Rise quick, and let me gaze into that planet deep and far,
            As into a loved eye;
Or I must, like the fiery child of the Vesuvian womb,
Burst with my flickering ghost abroad, before the sun of doom
            Rolls up the spectre sky.”

A lowly mound, at stormy night, sent up this ardent prayer
   Out of a murderer’s grave, a traitor’s nettly bed,
And the deeds of him, more dread than Cain, whose wickedness lay there,
   All mankind hath heard or read.

“Oh doomsday, doomsday come! thou creative morn
Of graves in earth, and under sea, all teeming at the horn
            Of angels fair and dread.
As thou the ghosts shalt waken, so I, the ghost, wake thee;
For thy rising sun and I shall rise together from the sea,
            The eldest of the dead.”

So crying, o’er the billowy main, an old ghost strode
            To a churchyard on the shore,
O’er whose ancient corpse the billowy main of ships had ebbed and flowed,
            Four thousand years or more.

* * *

“World, wilt thou yield thy spirits up, and be convulsed and die?
And, as I haunt the billowy main, thy ghost shall haunt the sky,
            A pale unheeded star.
Oh doomsday, doomsday, when wilt thou dawn at length for me?”
So having prayed in moonlight waves, beneath the shipwrecked sea,
            In spectral caverns far,
On moonlight, o’er the billowy main, the old ghost stepped,
            And the winds their mockery sung.

[Kelsall, 1851]