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Thomas Aird (Томас Эрд)

Song of Time and Man

High stood (he sang) the Sons of Light,
Exultant o'er our wondrous birth.
And through the alternate day and night
Whirled the glimmering ball of earth.

Eden the Blest! Ah, Sin is Wrath,—
War and Famine, Plague and Storm:
Crash goes the stony midriff of the earth,
Flee! the molten Fury's forth:
'Tis Wrath and Death in every form;
Tremble! 'tis the Second Death.

Life! Life! The Song, to Mercy's name,
Was truth on fire—ecstatic flame.

Midnight by the screech of owls!
Starved and gaunt the she-wolf howls:
Her whelps, as fierce the tempest beats,
Bite her yellow milkless teats;
Angry how she grins and howls!
Simple storms! a weirder power
Brews on the dark undialled hour:
What spectres thin, with blots of sin!
By horns and capes
Go wrecking Shapes,
Careering on the roaring din!
And the terrible Things that are here,
Came up by the Regions of Fear!
Twanged the wild chords. Morn in her dew,
Glistening green, and airy blue,
With roses red, and lilies white,
Made of the sweet consent of light;
Far noon, where summer seas away
Melt on the trembling brim of day;
Night-folded doves; Peace with her moon
Charmed in the curdled clouds of June;
And all the dædal earth he sang,
Till Beauty's haunts divinely rang.

Blood! Blood! It cries to Heaven!
(How the haggard chords are riven!)
Knotted scorpions, these the scourge,
See the frantic Furies urge!
Jar and tumult! patriot Zeal,
Meet it with thy breast of steel;
Rasp, rasp on the exasperated age,
Blunt the bristling civic rage.
Gravely sweet, he sang of Law,
Freedom, and Art, and Holy Awe,
Lists of renown, life's soft degrees,
Social charm, and lettered ease.

Him these blessings crown sublime
O'er all the sceptred sons of time,—
Him who scorned the mortal joys,
Him who scorned for self to reign:
What blocks of work, of awful poise,
Stood on that single brain!

He built our state. For Alfred flowed
The loyal Soul, the free and strong:
The people's heart, it rose and rode
Triumphant on the swelling Song.

Lord of all the sinewy graces,
Lord of all the sovran places,
Manhood kneels at Beauty's feet.
How the Song of Songs prevailed
To tell her majesty complete,—
The form, the bloom, the nameless grace exhaled
From the sweet symmetry of soul and life,
When Manhood blessed her his consummate Wife!

Mingled measure, quick of range,
Weep and joy for Wizard Change!
He splits the towers, but hangs sublime
A tongue in every rift of time;
Good and ill he works for Man,
Yet good from ill itself in life's mysterious plan.

And realms that wait in hoary state
Shall move to issues sweet and strange.
Love melts the iron rim of Fate
Around the weeping world of change.

Hence the spotted Sin shall cease,
And all be Truth, and all be Peace:
Come, come, thou better prime,
Flower and maidenhood of Time!

The hornèd months that come and go,
They never count, they never know;
Ranged in their kingdoms dark and deep,
I see the faded people sleep:
But, as we lie forlorn and dim,
The Lord, with woman's blood in Him,
Will touch our sunken eyes,
Fill us with life (he sang) and lift us to the skies.

Crashing bursts the choral thunder!
Never ending,
Still ascending,
Rolls the Song of Joy and Wonder,—
Joying that the cycled plan
Of Time is crowned with perfect Man. 

Thomas Aird's other poems:
  1. Monograph of a Friend
  2. The Translation of Beauty
  3. Song the Seventh
  4. Song the Second
  5. Song the Fourth

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