HARK! some wild trumpeter--some strange musician,
Hovering unseen in air, vibrates capricious tunes to-night.
I hear thee, trumpeter--listening, alert, I catch thy notes,
Now pouring, whirling like a tempest round me,
Now low, subdued--now in the distance lost.
Come nearer, bodiless one--haply, in thee resounds
Some dead composer--haply thy pensive life
Was fill'd with aspirations high--unform'd ideals,
Waves, oceans musical, chaotically surging,
That now, ecstatic ghost, close to me bending, thy cornet echoing,
Gives out to no one's ears but mine--but freely gives to mine,
That I may thee translate.
Blow, trumpeter, free and clear--I follow thee,
While at thy liquid prelude, glad, serene,
The fretting world, the streets, the noisy hours of day, withdraw;
A holy calm descends, like dew, upon me,
I walk, in cool refreshing night, the walks of Paradise,
I scent the grass, the moist air, and the roses;
Thy song expands my numb'd, imbonded spirit--thou freest, launchest
Floating and basking upon Heaven's lake.20
Blow again, trumpeter! and for my sensuous eyes,
Bring the old pageants--show the feudal world.
What charm thy music works!--thou makest pass before me,
Ladies and cavaliers long dead--barons are in their castle halls--the
troubadours are singing;
Arm'd knights go forth to redress wrongs--some in quest of the Holy
I see the tournament--I see the contestants, encased in heavy armor,
seated on stately, champing horses;
I hear the shouts--the sounds of blows and smiting steel:
I see the Crusaders' tumultuous armies--Hark! how the cymbals clang!
Lo! where the monks walk in advance, bearing the cross on high!
Blow again, trumpeter! and for thy theme,30
Take now the enclosing theme of all--the solvent and the setting;
Love, that is pulse of all--the sustenace and the pang;
The heart of man and woman all for love;
No other theme but love--knitting, enclosing, all-diffusing love.
O, how the immortal phantoms crowd around me!
I see the vast alembic ever working--I see and know the flames that
heat the world;
The glow, the blush, the beating hearts of lovers,
So blissful happy some--and some so silent, dark, and nigh to death:
Love, that is all the earth to lovers--Love, that mocks time and
Love, that is day and night--Love, that is sun and moon and stars; 40
Love, that is crimson, sumptuous, sick with perfume;
No other words, but words of love--no other thought but Love.
Blow again, trumpeter--conjure war's Wild alarums.
Swift to thy spell, a shuddering hum like distant thunder rolls;
Lo! where the arm'd men hasten--Lo! mid the clouds of dust, the glint
I see the grime-faced cannoniers--I mark the rosy flash amid the
smoke--I hear the cracking of the guns:
--Nor war alone--thy fearful music-song, wild player, brings every
sight of fear,
The deeds of ruthless brigands--rapine, murder--I hear the cries for
I see ships foundering at sea--I behold on deck, and below deck, the
O trumpeter! methinks I am myself the instrument thou playest!50
Thou melt'st my heart, my brain--thou movest, drawest, changest them,
And now thy sullen notes send darkness through me;
Thou takest away all cheering light--all hope:
I see the enslaved, the overthrown, the hurt, the opprest of the
I feel the measureless shame and humiliation of my race--it becomes
Mine too the revenges of humanity--the wrongs of ages--baffled feuds
Utter defeat upon me weighs--all lost! the foe victorious!
(Yet 'mid the ruins Pride colossal stands, unshaken to the last;
Endurance, resolution, to the last.)
Now, trumpeter, for thy close,60
Vouchsafe a higher strain than any yet;
Sing to my soul--renew its languishing faith and hope;
Rouse up my slow belief--give me some vision of the future;
Give me, for once, its prophecy and joy.
O glad, exulting, culminating song!
A vigor more than earth's is in thy notes!
Marches of victory--man disenthrall'd--the conqueror at last!
Hymns to the universal God, from universal Man--all joy!
A reborn race appears--a perfect World, all joy!
Women and Men, in wisdom, innocence and health--all joy!70
Riotous, laughing bacchanals, fill'd with joy!
War, sorrow, suffering gone--The rank earth purged--nothing but joy
The ocean fill'd with joy--the atmosphere all joy!
Joy! Joy! in freedom, worship, love! Joy in the ecstacy of life!
Enough to merely be! Enough to breathe!
Joy! Joy! all over Joy!
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