University of Virginia Library



The Elysium of the Greek was given
By haughty bards, a hero-heaven;
No victim looked for solace there:
The marble gate disowned the plea—
Ye heavy laden, come to me.
Nor Fortune's Isles, nor Tempe's dale
Nor Araby the Blest did bear
A saving balm—might not avail
To lull one pang, one lot repair.
Dreams, narrow dreams; nor of a kind
Showing inventiveness of mind
Beyond our earth. But oh! 'twas rare,
In world like this, the world we know
(Sole know, and reason from) to dare
To pledge indemnifying good
In worlds not known; boldly avow,
Against experience, the brood
Of Christian hopes.”
So Rolfe, and sat
Clouded. But, changing, up he gat:
“Whence sprang the vision? They who freeze,
On earth here, under want or wrong;
The Sermon on the Mount shall these
Find verified? is love so strong?
Or bounds are hers, that Python mars
Your gentler influence, ye stars?
If so, how seem they given o'er
To worse than Circe's fooling spell;
Enslaved, degraded, tractable
To each mean atheist's crafty power.
So winning in enthusiast plea
Here may the Gospel but the more


Operate like a perfidy?”
“So worldlings deem,” the Swede in glow;
“Much so they deem; or, if not so,
Hereon they act. But what said he,
The Jew whose feet the blisters know,
To Christ as sore He trailed the Tree
Toward Golgotha: ‘Ha, is it Thou,
The king, the god? Well then, be strong:
No royal steed with galls is wrung:
That's for the hack.’ There he but hurled
The scoff of Nature and the World,
Those monstrous twins.” It jarred the nerve
Of Derwent, but he masked the thrill.
For Vine, he kindled, sitting still;
Respected he the Swede's wild will
As did the Swede Vine's ruled reserve.
Mortmain went on: “We've touched a theme
From which the club and lyceum swerve,
Nor Herr von Goethe would esteem;
And yet of such compulsive worth,
It dragged a god here down to earth,
As some account. And, truth to say,
Religion ofttimes, one may deem,
Is man's appeal from fellow-clay:
Thibetan faith implies the extreme—
That death emancipates the good,
Absorbs them into deity,
Dropping the wicked into bestialhood.”
With that for text to revery due,
In lifted waste, on ashy ground
Like Job's pale group, without a sound
They sat. But hark! what strains ensue
Voiced from the crags above their view