Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1541. From “Taliesin: a Masque”
By Richard Hovey
Voices of Unseen Spirits

HERE falls no light of sun nor stars;
  No stir nor striving here intrudes;
No moan nor merry-making mars
  The quiet of these solitudes.
Submerged in sleep, the passive soul        5
  Is one with all the things that seem;
Night blurs in one confusëd whole
  Alike the dreamer and the dream.
O dwellers in they busy town!
  For dreams you smile, for dreams you weep.        10
Come out, and lay your burdens down!
  Come out; there is no God but Sleep.
Sleep, and renounce the vital day;
  For evil is the child of life.
Let be the will to live, and pray        15
  To find forgetfulness of strife.
Beneath the thicket of these leaves
  No light discriminates each from each.
No Self that wrongs, no Self that grieves,
  Hath longer deed nor creed nor speech.        20
Sleep on the mighty Mother’s breast!
  Sleep, and no more be separate!
Then, one with Nature’s ageless rest,
  There shall be no more sin to hate.

  Spirits of Sleep,
    That swell and sink
      In the sea of Being
  Like waves on the deep,
  Forming, crumbling,
  Fumbling, and tumbling        30
      Forever, unseeing,
    From brink to brink!
  Perishing voices,
    That call and call
      From the coves of dream        35
  With hollow noises!
  I hear the sweep
  Of the tides of sleep,
      The ocean stream
    Where the ages fall.        40
  But not for these
    Will I let me die,
      Though my heart remembers
  The calling seas;
  For the cycles fought        45
  Till form was wrought
      And Might had members
    And I was I.
  Yet still to you,
    O Dreams, I turn;        50
      Not with a prayer
  But a bidding to do!
  I surmount and subdue you;
  Not without you but through you
      I shall forge and fare        55
    To the chosen bourne.

  We are ware of a will
  Cries “Peace, be still!”
  And our waters cease
  To a troubled peace.        60

  Lo, star upon star!
    They dwell alone
      Sirius, Altair,
  Their ways are asunder,—        65
  Aloof, in thunder
      They march and flare
    From zone to zone.
  But the formless ether
    Far and far        70
      Enfolds their places.
  Therein together
  At one they sweep
  From deep to deep,
      And over its spaces        75
    Star calls to star.
  Through its waves they reach
    Beyond their spheres
      To their fellow fires.
  Each yearns to each,        80
  And the straight wills swerve
  To a yielding curve,
      And a moth’s desires
    Deflect the years.
  And with urge on urge        85
    Of the rippling wave
      Light speeds through space;
  The domes emerge;
  And the halls of Night
  Behold each light        90
      Reveal his face
    To the vast conclave.
  The centred Soul
    By these is known.
      Its will it wreaks        95
  At its own control;
  But dumb, unseeing,
  The sea of Being
      Washes the peaks
    Where it strives alone.        100

  As the dawn awaits
  The recoiling gates
  Of the eastern air,
  We are calm and hear.


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