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Best Famous George William Russell Poems

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Written by George William Russell | Create an image from this poem


 My heart was heavy, for its trust had been 
Abused, its kindness answered with foul wrong; 
So, turning gloomily from my fellow-men, 
One summer Sabbath day I strolled among 
The green mounds of the village burial-place; 
Where, pondering how all human love and hate 
Find one sad level; and how, soon or late, 
Wronged and wrongdoer, each with meekened face, 
And cold hands folded over a still heart, 
Pass the green threshold of our common grave, 
Whither all footsteps tend, whence none depart, 
Awed for myself, and pitying my race, 
Our common sorrow, like a mighty wave, 
Swept all my pride away, and trembling I forgave!

Written by George William Russell | Create an image from this poem


 ONE thing in all things have I seen:
One thought has haunted earth and air:
Clangour and silence both have been
Its palace chambers.
Everywhere I saw the mystic vision flow And live in men and woods and streams, Until I could no longer know The dream of life from my own dreams.
Sometimes it rose like fire in me Within the depths of my own mind, And spreading to infinity, It took the voices of the wind: It scrawled the human mystery— Dim heraldry—on light and air; Wavering along the starry sea I saw the flying vision there.
Each fire that in God’s temple lit Burns fierce before the inner shrine, Dimmed as my fire grew near to it And darkened at the light of mine.
At last, at last, the meaning caught— The spirit wears its diadem; It shakes its wondrous plumes of thought And trails the stars along with them.
Written by George William Russell | Create an image from this poem


 HE bent above: so still her breath
What air she breathed he could not say,
Whether in worlds of life or death:
So softly ebbed away, away,
The life that had been light to him,
So fled her beauty leaving dim
The emptying chambers of his heart
Thrilled only by the pang and smart,
The dull and throbbing agony
That suffers still, yet knows not why.
Love’s immortality so blind Dreams that all things with it conjoined Must share with it immortal day: But not of this—but not of this— The touch, the eyes, the laugh, the kiss, Fall from it and it goes its way.
So blind he wept above her clay, “I did not think that you could die.
Only some veil would cover you Our loving eyes could still pierce through; And see through dusky shadows still Move as of old your wild sweet will, Impatient every heart to win And flash its heavenly radiance in.
” Though all the worlds were sunk in rest The ruddy star within his breast Would croon its tale of ancient pain, Its sorrow that would never wane, Its memory of the days of yore Moulded in beauty evermore.
Ah, immortality so blind, To dream all things with it conjoined Must follow it from star to star And share with it immortal years.
The memory, yearning, grief, and tears, Fall from it and it goes afar.
He walked at night along the sands, He saw the stars dance overhead, He had no memory of the dead, But lifted up exultant hands To hail the future like a boy, The myriad paths his feet might press.
Unhaunted by old tenderness He felt an inner secret joy— A spirit of unfettered will Through light and darkness moving still Within the All to find its own, To be immortal and alone.
Written by George William Russell | Create an image from this poem


 NOW when the spirit in us wakes and broods,
Filled with home yearnings, drowsily it flings
From its deep heart high dreams and mystic moods,
Mixed with the memory of the loved earth things:
Clothing the vast with a familiar face;
Reaching its right hand forth to greet the starry race.
Wondrously near and clear the great warm fires Stare from the blue; so shows the cottage light To the field labourer whose heart desires The old folk by the nook, the welcome bright From the house-wife long parted from at dawn— So the star villages in God’s great depths withdrawn.
Nearer to Thee, not by delusion led, Though there no house fires burn nor bright eyes gaze: We rise, but by the symbol charioted, Through loved things rising up to Love’s own ways: By these the soul unto the vast has wings And sets the seal celestial on all mortal things.
Written by George William Russell | Create an image from this poem

The Well of All-Healing

 THERE’S a cure for sorrow in the well at Ballylee
 Where the scarlet cressets hang over the trembling pool:
And joyful winds are blowing from the Land of Youth to me,
 And the heart of the earth is full.
Many and many a sunbright maiden saw the enchanted land With star faces glimmer up from the druid wave: Many and many a pain of love was soothed by a faery hand Or lost in the love it gave.
When the quiet with a ring of pearl shall wed the earth, And the scarlet berries burn dark by the stars in the pool; Oh, it’s lost and deep I’ll be amid the Danaan mirth, While the heart of the earth is full.

Written by George William Russell | Create an image from this poem


 AT dusk the window panes grew grey;
The wet world vanished in the gloom;
The dim and silver end of day
Scarce glimmered through the little room.
And all my sins were told; I said Such things to her who knew not sin— The sharp ache throbbing in my head, The fever running high within.
I touched with pain her purity; Sin’s darker sense I could not bring: My soul was black as night to me; To her I was a wounded thing.
I needed love no words could say; She drew me softly nigh her chair, My head upon her knees to lay, With cool hands that caressed my hair.
She sat with hands as if to bless, And looked with grave, ethereal eyes; Ensouled by ancient Quietness, A gentle priestess of the Wise.
Written by George William Russell | Create an image from this poem

A Leader

 THOUGH your eyes with tears were blind,
Pain upon the path you trod:
Well we knew, the hosts behind,
Voice and shining of a god.
For your darkness was our day: Signal fires, your pains untold Lit us on our wandering way To the mystic heart of gold.
Naught we knew of the high land, Beauty burning in its spheres; Sorrow we could understand And the mystery told in tears.
Written by George William Russell | Create an image from this poem

Hope in Failure

 THOUGH now thou hast failed and art fallen, despair not because of defeat,
Though lost for a while be thy heaven and weary of earth be thy feet,
For all will be beauty about thee hereafter through sorrowful years,
And lovely the dews for thy chilling and ruby thy heart-drip of tears.
The eyes that had gazed from afar on a beauty that blinded the eyes Shall call forth its image for ever, its shadow in alien skies.
The heart that had striven to beat in the heart of the Mighty too soon Shall still of that beating remember some errant and faltering tune.
For thou hast but fallen to gather the last of the secrets of power; The beauty that breathes in thy spirit shall shape of thy sorrow a flower, The pale bud of pity shall open the bloom of its tenderest rays, The heart of whose shining is bright with the light of the Ancient of Days.
Written by George William Russell | Create an image from this poem

The Fountain of Shadowy Beauty

 I WOULD I could weave in
 The colour, the wonder,
 The song I conceive in
 My heart while I ponder,

 And show how it came like
 The magi of old
 Whose chant was a flame like
 The dawn’s voice of gold;

 Whose dreams followed near them
 A murmur of birds,
 And ear still could hear them
 Unchanted in words.
In words I can only Reveal thee my heart, Oh, Light of the Lonely, The shining impart.
Between the twilight and the dark The lights danced up before my eyes: I found no sleep or peace or rest, But dreams of stars and burning skies.
I knew the faces of the day— Dream faces, pale, with cloudy hair, I knew you not nor yet your home, The Fount of Shadowy Beauty, where? I passed a dream of gloomy ways Where ne’er did human feet intrude: It was the border of a wood, A dreadful forest solitude.
With wondrous red and fairy gold The clouds were woven o’er the ocean; The stars in fiery æther swung And danced with gay and glittering motion.
A fire leaped up within my heart When first I saw the old sea shine; As if a god were there revealed I bowed my head in awe divine; And long beside the dim sea marge I mused until the gathering haze Veiled from me where the silver tide Ran in its thousand shadowy ways.
The black night dropped upon the sea: The silent awe came down with it: I saw fantastic vapours flee As o’er the darkness of the pit.
When lo! from out the furthest night A speck of rose and silver light Above a boat shaped wondrously Came floating swiftly o’er the sea.
It was no human will that bore The boat so fleetly to the shore Without a sail spread or an oar.
The Pilot stood erect thereon And lifted up his ancient face, Ancient with glad eternal youth Like one who was of starry race.
His face was rich with dusky bloom; His eyes a bronze and golden fire; His hair in streams of silver light Hung flamelike on his strange attire, Which, starred with many a mystic sign, Fell as o’er sunlit ruby glowing: His light flew o’er the waves afar In ruddy ripples on each bar Along the spiral pathways flowing.
It was a crystal boat that chased The light along the watery waste, Till caught amid the surges hoary The Pilot stayed its jewelled glory.
Oh, never such a glory was: The pale moon shot it through and through With light of lilac, white and blue: And there mid many a fairy hue, Of pearl and pink and amethyst, Like lightning ran the rainbow gleams And wove around a wonder-mist.
The Pilot lifted beckoning hands; Silent I went with deep amaze To know why came this Beam of Light So far along the ocean ways Out of the vast and shadowy night.
“Make haste, make haste!” he cried.
“Away! A thousand ages now are gone.
Yet thou and I ere night be sped Will reck no more of eve or dawn.
” Swift as the swallow to its nest I leaped: my body dropt right down: A silver star I rose and flew.
A flame burned golden at his breast: I entered at the heart and knew My Brother-Self who roams the deep, Bird of the wonder-world of sleep.
The ruby vesture wrapped us round As twain in one; we left behind The league-long murmur of the shore And fleeted swifter than the wind.
The distance rushed upon the bark: We neared unto the mystic isles: The heavenly city we could mark, Its mountain light, its jewel dark, Its pinnacles and starry piles.
The glory brightened: “Do not fear; For we are real, though what seems So proudly built above the waves Is but one mighty spirit’s dreams.
“Our Father’s house hath many fanes; Yet enter not and worship not, For thought but follows after thought Till last consuming self it wanes.
“The Fount of Shadowy Beauty flings Its glamour o’er the light of day: A music in the sunlight sings To call the dreamy hearts away Their mighty hopes to ease awhile: We will not go the way of them: The chant makes drowsy those who seek The sceptre and the diadem.
“The Fount of Shadowy Beauty throws Its magic round us all the night; What things the heart would be, it sees And chases them in endless flight.
Or coiled in phantom visions there It builds within the halls of fire; Its dreams flash like the peacock’s wing And glow with sun-hues of desire.
We will not follow in their ways Nor heed the lure of fay or elf, But in the ending of our days Rest in the high Ancestral Self.
” The boat of crystal touched the shore, Then melted flamelike from our eyes, As in the twilight drops the sun Withdrawing rays of paradise.
We hurried under archéd aisles That far above in heaven withdrawn With cloudy pillars stormed the night, Rich as the opal shafts of dawn.
I would have lingered then—but he: “Oh, let us haste: the dream grows dim, Another night, another day, A thousand years will part from him, Who is that Ancient One divine From whom our phantom being born Rolled with the wonder-light around Had started in the fairy morn.
“A thousand of our years to him Are but the night, are but the day, Wherein he rests from cyclic toil Or chants the song of starry sway.
He falls asleep: the Shadowy Fount Fills all our heart with dreams of light: He wakes to ancient spheres, and we Through iron ages mourn the night.
We will not wander in the night But in a darkness more divine Shall join the Father Light of Lights And rule the long-descended line.
” Even then a vasty twilight fell: Wavered in air the shadowy towers: The city like a gleaming shell, Its azures, opals, silvers, blues, Were melting in more dreamy hues.
We feared the falling of the night And hurried more our headlong flight.
In one long line the towers went by; The trembling radiance dropt behind, As when some swift and radiant one Flits by and flings upon the wind The rainbow tresses of the sun.
And then they vanished from our gaze Faded the magic lights, and all Into a starry radiance fell As waters in their fountain fall.
We knew our time-long journey o’er And knew the end of all desire, And saw within the emerald glow Our Father like the white sun-fire.
We could not say if age or youth Were on his face: we only burned To pass the gateways of the day, The exiles to the heart returned.
He rose to greet us and his breath, The tempest music of the spheres, Dissolved the memory of earth, The cyclic labour and our tears.
In him our dream of sorrow passed, The spirit once again was free And heard the song the morning stars Chant in eternal revelry.
This was the close of human story; We saw the deep unmeasured shine, And sank within the mystic glory They called of old the Dark Divine.
Well it is gone now, The dream that I chanted: On this side the dawn now I sit fate-implanted.
But though of my dreaming The dawn has bereft me, It all was not seeming For something has left me.
I feel in some other World far from this cold light The Dream Bird, my brother, Is rayed with the gold light.
I too in the Father Would hide me, and so, Bright Bird, to foregather With thee now I go.
Written by George William Russell | Create an image from this poem


 OVER all the dream-built margin, flushed with grey and hoary light,
Glint the bubble planets tossing in the dead black sea of night.
Immemorial face, how many faces look from out thy skies, Now with ghostly eyes of wonder rimmed around with rainbow dyes: Now the secrets of the future trail along the silent spheres: Ah, how often have I followed filled with phantom hopes and fears, Where my star that rose dream-laden, moving to the mystic crown, On the yellow moon-rock foundered and my joy and dreams went down.
As a child with hands uplifted peering through the cloudless miles Bent the Mighty Mother o’er me shining all with eyes and smiles: “Come up hither, child, my darling”: waving to the habitations, Thrones, and starry kings around her, dark embattled planet nations.
There the mighty rose in greeting, as their child from exile turning Smiled upon the awful faces o’er the throne supernal burning.
As with sudden sweetness melting, shone the eyes, the hearts of home, Changed the vision, and the Mother vanished in the vasty dome.
So from marvel unto marvel turned the face I gazed upon, Till its fading majesty grew tender as a child at dawn, And the heaven of heavens departed and the visions passed away With the seraph of the darkness martyred in the fires of day.