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A Midnight Meditation

 HOW often have I said,
“We may not grieve for the immortal dead.
” And now, poor blenchèd heart, Thy ruddy hues all tremulous depart.
Why be with fate at strife Because one passes on from death to life, Who may no more delay Rapt from our strange and pitiful dream away By one with ancient claim Who robes her with the spirit like a flame.
Not lost this high belief— Oh, passionate heart, what is thy cause for grief? Is this thy sorrow now, She in eternal beauty may not bow Thy troubles to efface As in old time a head with gentle grace All tenderly laid by thine Taught thee the nearness of the love divine.
Her joys no more for thee Than the impartial laughter of the sea, Her beauty no more fair For thee alone, but starry, everywhere.
Her pity dropped for you No more than heaven above with healing dew Favours one home of men— Ah! grieve not; she becomes herself again, And passed beyond thy sight She roams along the thought-swept fields of light, Moving in dreams until She finds again the root of ancient will, The old heroic love That emptied once the heavenly courts above.
The angels heard from earth A mournful cry which shattered all their mirth, Raised by a senseless rout Warring in chaos with discordant shout, And that the pain might cease They grew rebellious in the Master’s peace; And falling downward then The angelic lights were crucified in men; Leaving so radiant spheres For earth’s dim twilight ever wet with tears That through those shadows dim Might breathe the lovely music brought from Him.
And now my grief I see Was but that ancient shadow part of me, Not yet attuned to good, Still blind and senseless in its warring mood, I turn from it and climb To the heroic spirit of the prime, The light that well foreknew All the dark ways that it must journey through.
Yet seeing still a gain, A distant glory o’er the hills of pain, Through all that chaos wild A breath as gentle as a little child, Through earth transformed, divine, The Christ-soul of the universe to shine.

Poem by George William Russell
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