CHORUS OF EDEN SPIRITS
by: Elizabeth Barrett Browning
oh hearken! let your souls behind you
- Turn, gently moved!
- Our voices feel along the Dread to find you,
- O lost, beloved!
- Through the thick-shielded and strong-marshalled angels,
- They press and pierce:
- Our requiems follow fast on our evangels,
- Voice throbs in verse.
- We are but orphaned spirits left in Eden
- A time ago:
- God gave us golden cups, and we were bidden
- To feed you so.
- But now our right hand hath no cup remaining,
- No work to do,
- The mystic hydromel is spilt, and staining
- The whole earth through.
- Most ineradicable stains, for showing
- (Not interfused!)
- That brighter colours were the worlds foregoing,
- Than shall be used.
- Hearken, oh hearken! ye shall hearken surely
- For years and years,
- The noise beside you, dripping coldly, purely,
- Of spirits tears.
- The yearning to a beautiful denied you,
- Shall strain your powers.
- Ideal sweetnesses shall over-glide you,
- Resumed from ours.
- In all your music, our pathetic minor
- Your ears shall cross;
- And all good gifts shall mind you of diviner,
- With sense of loss.
- We shall be near you in your poet-languors
- And wild extremes,
- What time ye vex the desert with vain angers,
- Or mock with dreams.
- And when upon you, weary after roaming,
- Deaths seal is put,
- By the foregone ye shall discern the coming,
- Through eyelids shut.
MORE POEMS BY ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING
"Chorus of Eden Spirits"
is reprinted from The Oxford book of English mystical verse.
Ed. D.H.S. Nicholson. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1917.