A spectacle in heaven!--behold!--there is no tax to pay;
Space is our boundless theatre, domed by the summer-day.
How trifling all the trickery of human art appears
By this gloom and glory meeting in the passing of the spheres!
A gloom upon the glory, and a glory in the gloom,
Darkness that stifles summer songs, shuts up the summer's bloom;
A glory flashing through the dark, a color without name,
A dusky gem with heart of fire, girt by a rim of flame!
A spectacle!--upon yon deep, unending azure scroll,
A sun eclipsed! as erst on high was one refulgent soul
Blackened by sin, transformed, ere yet from thrones of light he fell,
Spark of the eternal!--quenched amid the lurid depths of hell.
Along the sun's broad disk, behold! an inky shadow creeps,--
An ebon sickle down its fields of glory slowly sweeps,--
Till a weird spectral pallor through day's glowing aisles doth glide,
Like that which veiled the shuddering earth when Christ was crucified!
But now the universe was like a bright impassioned life,
Pulsing with love and perfect bliss, with earthly splendors rife,
On which some direful, crushing grief comes fiercely swooping down,
Leaving it ghastly as the day, reft of his burnished crown!
Look up: unto the naked eye day wears a mask of jet,
With rose and amber-beads around yon flaming dial set;
Look through a telescope, and see the jet to emerald turn,
Throbbing with light, like green sea-waves' neath which volcanoes burn.
Morn after morn the sun doth rise, eve after eve go down,
God's smile unheeded--but, eclipsed, it minds us of his frown.
Pale watcher, mark the livid mask all nature wears, and prize
Yon orb, whose veiling leaves thy cheek as ghastly as the skies.
Woe if the one who draws that veil should leave it thus, and blight
Earth, beauty, bloom with ghostly shades, more terrible than night;
Like to the leprosy of doubt, on souls that strive to prove
The power revolving suns is chance, and not infinite love.
Scoffer, behold the shadow pass; dost thou deny His might
Who rolls adown that pallid sky great tidal waves of light?
Billows of glory! breaking on the dim horizon's verge,
While shouts from rapturous multitudes go up their golden surge!
Hearts, panting from a great excess of wonder, through pale lips
Cry out with joy to see the sun unmask from his eclipse.
Oh, let that blaze--one moment lost--our souls with faith inspire,
Like those--bereft of Christ--baptized in Pentecostal fire!