Lyrics of Earth

by Archibald Lampman





The full, clear moon uprose and spread
    Her cold, pale splendor oíer the sea;
A light-strewn path that seemed to lead
    Outward into eternity.
Between the darkness and the gleam                                        5
    An old-world spell encompassed me:
Methought that in a godlike dream
    I trod upon the sea.

And lo! upon that glimmering road,
    In shining companies unfurled,                                             10
The trains of many a primal god,
    The monsters of the elder world;
Strange creatures that, with silver wings,
    Scarce touched the oceanís thronging floor,
The phantoms of old tales, and things                                     15
    Whose shapes are known no more.
Giants and demi-gods who once
    Were dwellers of the earth and sea,
And they who from Deucalionís stones,
    Rose men without an infancy;                                               20

Beings on whose majestic lids
    Timeís solemn secrets seemed to dwell,
Tritons and pale-limbed Nereids,
    And forms of heaven and hell.
Some who were heroes long of yore,                                      25
    When the great world was hale and young;
And some whose marble lips yet pour
    The murmur of an antique tongue;
Sad queens, whose names are like soft moans,
    Whose griefs were written up in gold;                                 30
And some who on their silver thrones
    Were goddesses of old.

As if I had been dead indeed,
    And come into some after-land,
I saw them pass me, and take heed,                                      35
    And touch me with each mighty hand;
And evermore a murmurous stream,
    So beautiful they seemed to me,
Not less than in a godlike dream
    I trod the shining sea.                                                           40