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Sprung from a past as black as any night,
And all obscurely down the ages come,
A shrouded figure, feeling for the light,
A wordless crying, as of one born dumb.


Live in the flesh, entombed we know not where,
A thing without a shape or any vital part,
A spirit formless as the outer air,
More near than each man's warmly beating heart.


What is the business that he goes about,
Can he achieve it in this fleshly tomb,
Can tidings reach him from the world without,
This prison'd dewdrop hear the great Sea's boom?

* * * *

And when he speaks, as sometimes he has spoken,
With what alarm his startled listeners hear!
How they reject the sure, veracious token,
How they refuse him a believing ear!


And when each shatter'd prison is forsaken,
Where is the spirit? Whither doth he flee?
With what appalling terror others, shaken,
Cry "He is gone, and sends no word to me!"


Out of the darkness who is seen returning?
Breaking the silence who hath answer made?
Tho' all the world has stretched out arms of yearning,
Tho' all the world has wept and been afraid?


What is the spirit dwelling in us mortals?
From what still spaces moves he to each man?
Why may so few re-enter earthly portals?
The creature ever question his Creator's plan?