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Poem by Edward Dowden

The Morning Star


Backward betwixt the gates of steepest heaven,
  Faint from the insupportable advance
Of light confederate in the East, is driven

  The starry chivalry, and helm and lance,
Which held keen ward upon the shadowy plain,
  Yield to the stress and stern predominance

Of Day; no wanderer morning-moon awane
  Floats through dishevelled clouds, exanimate,
In disarray, with gaze of weariest pain;

  O thou, sole Splendour, sprung to vindicate
Nights ancient fame, thou in dread strife serene,
  With back-blown locks, joyous yet desperate

Flamest; from whose pure ardour Earth doth win
High passionate pangs, thou radiant paladin.


Nay; strife must cease in song: far-sent and clear
  Piercing the silence of this summer morn
I hear thy swan-song rapturous; I hear

  Lifes ecstasy; sharp cries of flames which burn
With palpitating joy, intense and pure,
  From altars of the universe, and yearn

In eager spires; and under these the sure
  Strong ecstasy of Death, in phrase too deep
For thought, too bright for dim investiture.

  Of mortal words, and sinking more than sleep
Down holier places of the souls delight;
  Cry, through the quickening dawn, to us who creep

Mid dreams and dews of the dividing night,
Thou searcher of the darkness and the light.


I seek thee, and thou art not; for the sky
  Has drawn thee in upon her breast to be
A hidden talisman, while light soars high,

  Virtuous to make wide heavens tranquillity
More tranquil, and her steadfast truth more true,
  Yea even her overbowed infinity.

Of tenderness, when oer wet woods the blue
  Shows past white edges of a sundering cloud,
More infinitely tender. Day is new,

  Night ended; how the hills are overflowed
With spaciousness of splendour, and each tree
  Is touched; only not yet the lark is loud,

Since viewless still oer city and plain and sea
Vibrates thy spirit-wingèd ecstasy.

Edward Dowden

Edward Dowden's other poems:
  1. In the Galleries
  2. On the Heights
  3. The Wanderer
  4. A Childs Noonday Sleep
  5. In the Cathedral

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • George Russell The Morning Star ("IN the black pool of the midnight Lu has slung the morning star")

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