W. E. Hunter

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To Love

Where art thou, Love, whose strange sweet light of yore
Made all the wide waste earth and seas and skies
As beautiful as erst was Paradise,
When our first parents learnt thy blissful lore?
Where art thou gone? The winds and waters war
'Gainst me defenceless, with unceasing strife,
My heart is famished, and my path of life
Unfruitful as a storm-tormented shore.

How dreadful is this world with thee away!
How coarse and common all beneath the sky,
If thou thy all-atoning grace deny!
O, Love! for thee I anguish, night and day;
And search the heavens, again and yet again,
For thy returning wings, but still in vain!

As on a Hidden Voyage

As on a hidden voyage fast confined
A captive in his dungeon hears forlorn
Free winds and waves, and muffled voices borne
From fleeting shores unknown, soon left behind;
And hearing, beats against his narrow walls
And strives to pierce them, that the moving skies
May lay his path in light before his eyes:
So hears my fettered soul, at intervals,
An outer world breathe near, and tries the bond
And compass of her prison, seeking still
To force some secret port, from whose wide sill
She, haply might look forth on light beyond,
And see, for weal or woe, in Truth's pure ray,
The mystery of Life's Voyage wane away.


It is not melody but harmony
That doth the Halls of Space with music fill:
The Universe was born of it, and still
In every atom lives and moves thereby.
Yea, each mere atom in that wondrous song
Hath its own part, and thence the stars arise
And set to harmony, and brotherwise
Bear one another's burdens and are strong.

But ah! the utt'rance of one note untrue,
How faint soever! then like pain or fear,
A sudden tremor runs from sphere to sphere,
And all Creation doth the discord rue;
E'en God's pure angels waver in their flight,
Though but a moment, to'ards the Throne of Light.

After So Many Days

After so many days, dark days and dire,
In this wild land, the home of savage men,
To me, forlorn, 'neath alien stars, again
Life wears the splendour of Promethean fire.
I hear the harping of the Pleiad choir
Once more, once more the Music of the Spheres:
Back to my hand Olympian Clio bears
The seven-stringed foe of sorrow, the sweet lyre.

Is this the valley where I groped astray,
Huge mountain shadows making dark my way?
How strangely fair! at each step fairer yet!
And lo! an awful and a lovely sight,
One far-off peak of calm, unearthly light,
God's great white throne, it seems, in Heaven set.


By fond heroic names, in days of old
I spoke of thee, and did not think to fear
Thy presence, and what time thy step drew near
I stood in loneliness, serenely bold,
Ready to greet thee--waiting to behold
(Such was my faith) great love within thine eyes
Benign, and light of light from Paradise,
That should grow brighter as my heart grew cold.

Now all is changed! Thou, winter, spare the bough
Where love has built her dear and fragile nest!
Oh, for the nestlings' sake! and hers whose breast
Protects them, how I hate thee! hate thee! Thou
Hast laid thy hand upon my heart, cruel Death,
And lest I shriek aloud I bar my breath.

On His Seventieth Birthday

Now from my sum of life full seventy years
Have borne to my great Master their report,
Wherein, recorded to the slightest thought,
The story of my vanished past appears.
Soon will He call me, and not unawares,
Hence from His vineyard where I stand, with naught
But poor, unprofitable service wrought,
Counting the long array of sad arrears.

And then? A faint voice faintly understood
Replies: "He that created thee did mark,
Yea, search thee altogether, and foreknew,
Ere the first fibre of thy body grew,
Ere yet thy spirit kindled from the dark--
Can he renounce thee and His Fatherhood?"