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THE crimson morning dazzled me mine eyes,
This, and the swarming sun-gold on the sea,
The sea that made me languish with its sighs
As of a woman rolling under me.
And the waves glittered even as tender eyes;
And swarms of white birds uttered joyous cries,
Wheeled, and plunged madly down, their plumes to soak
In waves that laughed with long foam as they broke.
The face of all things quivered with a smile;
It was a landscape vast of earth and sky;
And near upon the azure sea an isle,
Still swathed in mist, slept peacefully the while,
A flower in a vase of lapis lazuli.
And, lilies huge upon the heavens piled,
Beyond the cities and the azure plains,
Stretched in the distance giant mountain chains,
Whose summits, on a sky as satin mild,
Mingled their virgin whiteness with the hour's;
And peach-trees pricked the blue with rosy flowers.
Enchanted by the beauty of the scene,
I walked beyond the town, when lo! a child,
Filthy and thin, with holes where eyes had been,
With scanty rags his chilblained body clad,
Stretched out his hand, and raised his face half-mad.
His mother ill, and father he had none,
Never his pain was soothed by a caress,
The sun alone kissed his foul ugliness,
And passers-by were hard to no man's son.
Then I began to muse on Heaven's ways,
On Evil's vulture always eating at
The entrails of the universe, and that
Background of sorrow mute which not betrays
By tears its presence, beings who are bred
By chance, of children for their forbears' sins
Punished, of Life's iniquities, snares, gins,
Horrors and chastisements unmerited.
And near this child with empty orbits, I
Could gaze no more upon the glorious sky
Above earth's blossoming garden, fearing lest
God in His justice meant them for a jest.