The Book of the Rose

by Charles G.D. Roberts




Sun, and Moon, and Wind, and Flame,
Dust, and Dew, and Day and Night,—
Ye endure. Shall I endure not,
Though so fleeting in your sight?
Ye return. Shall I return not,

Flesh, or in the flesh's despite?
Ye are mighty. But I hold you
Compassed in a vaster might.

Sun, before your flaming circuit
Smote upon the uncumbered dark,

I, within the Thought Eternal
Palpitant, a quenchless spark,
Watched while God awoke and set you
For a measure and a mark.

Dove of Heaven, ere you brooded
Whitely o'er the shoreless waste,
And upon the driven waters
Your austere enchantment placed,
I was power in God's conception,
Without rest and without haste.

Breath of Time, before your whisper
Wandered o'er the naked world,
Ere your wrath from pole to tropic
Running Alps of ocean hurled,
I, the germ of storm in stillness,
At the heart of God lay furled.

Journeying Spirit, ere your tongues
Taught the perished to aspire,
Charged the clod, and called the mortal
Through the reinitiant fire,
I was of the fiery impulse
Urging the Divine Desire.

Seed of Earth, when down the void
You were scattered from His hand,
When the spinning clot contracted,
Globed and greened at His command,
I, behind the sifting fingers,
Saw the scheme of beauty planned.

Phantom of the Many Waters,
When no more you fleet and fall,
When no more your round you follow,
Infinite, ephemeral,
At the feet of the Unsleeping
I shall toss you like a ball.

Rolling Masks of Life and Death,
When no more your ancient place
Knows you, when your light and darkness
Swing no longer over space,
My remembrance shall restore you
To the favour of His face.