Unconscious on thy lap I lay,
A spiritual thing,
Stirless until the yet unlooked-for day
Of human birth
Should call me from thy starry twilight, Earth.
And did thy bosom rock and clear voice sing?
I know not—now no more a spiritual thing.
Nor then thy breathed Adieu
I rightly knew.
—Until those human kind arms caught
And nursed my head
Upon her breast who from the twilight brought
This stranger me.
Mother, it were yet happiness to be
Within your arms; but now that you are dead
Your memory sleeps in mine; so mine is comforted,
Though I breathed dear Adieu
Unheard by you.
And I have gathered to my breast
Wife, mistress, child,
Affections insecure but tenderest
Of all that clutch
Man’s heart with their “Too little!” and “Too much!”
O, what anxieties, what passions wild
Bind and unbind me, what storms never to be stilled
Until Adieu, Adieu
Breathe the night through.
O, when all last farewells are said
To these most dear;
O, when within my purged heart peace is shed;
When these old sweet
Humanities move out on hushing feet,
And all is hush; then in that silence clear
Who is it comes again—near and near and near,
Even while the sighed Adieu
Fades the hush through?
O, is it on thy breast I fall,
A spiritual thing
Once more, and hear with ear insensual
The voice of primal Earth
Breathed gently as on Eden faint airs forth;
And so contented to thy bosom cling,
Though all those loves are gone nor faithful echoes ring,
Nor fond Adieu, Adieu
My parted spirit pursue?
—So hidden in green darkness deep,
Feel when I wake
The tides of night and day upon thee sweep,
And know thy forehead bared before the East,
And hear thy forests hushing in the West
And in thy bosom, Earth, the slow heart shake:
But hear no more the infinite forest murmurs break
Into Adieu, Adieu,
No more Adieu!