An Apotheosis

DIANEME and female attendants.

Sing on, sing ever, and let sobs arise
Beneath the current of your harmony,
Breaking its silvery stillness into gushes
Of stealing sadness: let tears fall upon it,
And burst with such a sound, as when a lute-string,
Torn by the passion of its melody,
Gasps its whole soul of music in one sound,
And dies beneath the waves of its own voice!
Be pale thou mooned midnight, and ye stars
Shed fluttering tremours of inconstant light
Upon the moaning billows; timid leaves
O’erwhelm yourselves with shadow, and give out
Your dewy titterings to the air no more!
Clouds, clouds, dark, deadly clouds, let not the moon
Look on his grave!β€”It is too light: the day
Will rise before I die: how old is evening?

The tide of darkness now is at its height.
Yon lily-woven cradle of the hours
Hath floated half her shining voyage, nor yet
Is by the current of the morn opposed.

The hour is coming: I must give my soul
To the same moment on whose precious air
My Casimir soared heavenward, for I know
There are a million chambers of the dead,
And every other minute but the same
Would bear me to the one where he is not,
And that were madness. Bring me yon sick lily,β€”
Yon fevered one.

Choose any other, lady,
For this is broken, odourless, and scorched,β€”
Where Death has graved his curse.

Give it to me;
I’ll weep it full. I have a love for flowers:
Guess you not why? Their roots are in the earth,
And, when the dead awake, or talk in sleep,
These hear their thoughts and write them on their leaves
For heaven to look on: and their dews come down
From the deep bosom of the blue, whereon
The spirits linger, sent by them perchance
With blessings to their friends. Besides all night
They are wide-waking, and the ghosts will pause,
And breathe their thoughts upon them. There, poor blossom,
My soul bedews thee, and my breast shall be
Thy death-bed, and our deaths shall intertwine.
Now, maids, farewell; this is the very echo
Of his expiring time; one snowy cloud
Hangs, like an avalanche of frozen light,
Upon the peak of night’s cerulean Alp,
And yon still pine, a bleak anatomy,
Flows, like a river, on the planet’s disk,
With its black, wandering arms. Farewell to all:
There is my hand to weep on.
                                             Now my soul
Developes its great beams, and, like a cloud
Racked by the mighty winds, at once expands
Into a measureless, immortal growth.
Crescented night, and amethystine stars,
And day, thou god and glory of the heavens,
Flow on for ever! Play, ye living spheres,
Through the infinity of azure wafted
On billowy music! Airs immortal, strew
Your tressed beauty on the clouds and seas!
And thou the sum of these, nature of all,
Thou providence pervading the whole space
Of measureless creation; thou vast mind,
Whose thoughts these pageantries and seasons are,
Who claspest all in one imagination,
All hail! I too am an eternity;
I am an universe. My soul is bent
Into a girdling circle full of days;
And my fears rise through the deep sky of it,
Blossoming into palpitating stars;
And suns are launched, and planets wake within me;
The words upon my breath are showery clouds,
Sailing along a summer; Casimir
Is the clear truth of ocean, to look back
The beams of my soft love, the world to turn
Within my blue embrace. I am an heaven,
And he my breezes, rays, and harmony;
‘Round and around the curvous atmosphere
Of my own real existence I revolve,
Serene and starry with undying love.
I am, I have been, I shall be, O glory!
An universe, a god, a living Ever.

   [She dies.

[Kelsall, 1851]