Love told a Star the vision that beguiled
His slumber; and the Darkness, hearing, smiled.
She brake the box, and all the house was filled
With waftures from the fragrant store thereof,
While at His feet a costlier vase distilled
The bruisèd balm of penitential love.
And, lo, as if in recompense of her,
Bewildered in the lingering shades of night,
He breaks anon the sealèd sepulchre,
And fills the world with rapture and with light.
Out of the dusk a shadow,
Then, a spark;
Out of the cloud a silence,
Then, a lark;
Out of the heart a rapture,
Then, a pain;
Out of the dead, cold ashes,
Behold, the night of sorrow gone,
Like Magdalen the tearful Dawn
Goes forth with love’s anointing sweet,
To kiss again the Master’s feet!
All that springeth from the sod
Tendeth upwards unto God;
All that cometh from the skies
Urging it anon to rise.
Winter’s life-delaying breath
Leaveneth the lump of death,
Till the frailest fettered bloom
Moves the earth, and bursts the tomb.
Welcome, then, Time’s threshing-pain
And the furrows where each grain,
Like a Samson, blossom-shorn,
Waits the resurrection morn.
For a recitation, click the play button:
“Dawn”: Father Tabb, p. 188; Poetry, p. 71. November 1898.
“The Recompense”: Poems, p. 87; Poetry, p. 229. March 1891. The first stanza alludes to the Gospel story of the sinful woman washing the Lord’s feet with her hair, Luke 7:36-50; traditionally, the woman has often been identified as St. Mary Magdalene, though the identification is not much more than conjecture. The second stanza alludes to the Gospel story of the Lord’s Resurrection, Matthew 28:8-10, in which the Saint is greeted by the Risen Lord. Brake is an older from of broke; waftures are scents carried softly and lightly on the breeze; anon means soon. Bruised and sealed need to be pronounced as two syllables to preserve the meter.
“Evolution”: Poems, p. 25; Poetry, p.157. 1894. A lark is any of a number of songbirds (family Alaudidae); only one, the Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris), lives in North America.
“Easter Morning”: Lyrics, p. 125; Poetry, p. 340. 1897. Easter is the day on which the Lord Jesus rose again after his death and burial, and the day on which His Resurrection is celebrated each year; see, for instance, Matthew 28.
“Resurrection”: Poems, p. 84; Poetry, p. 159. March 1894. Resurrection means rising again. Anon means soon. The story of Samson is told in the Old Testament book of Judges; the occasion to which the last stanza alludes is recounted in Judges 16:15-21.