A flash of harmless lightning, A mist of rainbow dyes, The burnished sunbeams brightening From flower to flower he flies.
Out of the dusk a shadow, Then a spark; Out of the cloud a silence, Then a lark; Out of the heart a rapture, Then a pain; Out of the dead, cold ashes, Life again.
And pray, who are you?"
Said the Violet blue
To the Bee, with surprise,
At his wonderful size,
In her eyeglass of dew.
"I, madam," quoth he,
"Am a publican Bee,
Collecting the tax
Of honey and wax.
Have you nothing for me?
Are ye the ghosts of fallen leaves,
O flakes of snow,
For which, through naked trees, the winds
In every seed to breathe a flower, In every drop of dew To reverence a cloister star Within the distant blue; To wait the promise of the how, Despite the cloud between, Is Faith-the fervid evidence Of loneliness unseen.
Alas! dear Joy, the merriest, is dead. But I have wed Peace ; and our babe, a boy, New-born, is Joy.
Hush! With sudden gush As from a fountain sings in yonder bush The Hermit Thrush.
Why should I stay? Nor seed nor fruit have I,
But, sprung at once to beauty's perfect round,
Nor loss nor gain nor change in me is found, -
A life-complete in death-complete to die.
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