For years the snow has been falling,
The sky is so leaden and low,
That men of high stature
Are almost afraid of knocking against it
And having it tumble on them.
The only light is from the snow;
All eyes have long since become resigned
To be dazzled by the earth alone.
Ah! but it was less sombre, just the same
And much less cold, in the times of God!
Our fingers are frozen. Oh! to know, to know!
Great souls have become frozen
Like the lakes in the mountains--
It is not enough to know!
Fact by fact, and sun by sun
We have stripped the flesh off the world;
But the strong blade of science
Has broken itself against the skeleton;
When withdrawn, there but remained
The odor of putrid stars.
How happy we would be again to have a god!
What loving words we would give him, and how kindly
We would regard him, if suddenly, to-morrow, to-night,
He were to enter and to take place at our fireside,
Where the century still new,
Is crackling and burning but badly,
Because of the snow falling into the hearth.
Ah! If it were but to-morrow, or to-night!
The flames would light up his face and hands,
And how we would wait for his lips to move!
Alas! Such gods no longer will pass:
They are afraid of showing their too simple raiment
And of cutting their feet on fragments of glass.
But the abstract gods whom no one has seen,
Those whom the breath of reason barely warm,--
Places, like steam on the windows of destiny,--
Those abstract gods that float away into the ineffable,
Those gods who have never spoken on the Mount,
And who, after sorrow and suffering, have not died--
They may exist, those gods,
But our hearts want none of them.