by Henrietta Cordelia Ray
Take it not back! the priceless gift!
The joy that all my heart would thrill,—
Creation's ecstasy in forms
Which a mysterious soul did fill.
Has Fancy drained her silver rills,
And hushed her tuneful birds the while?
Imagination stayed her flight,
Poised on near hills to wait the smile,
That bids her, with the arrow's speed,
Dart past the clouds in ether far,
Nor pause, till faint with ecstasy,
She chants, lured by some chanting star?
Where is the strange, celestial lyre
O'er which my willing soul would play?
Give back once more, the golden lyre,
I would be thine alone to-day!
Comes not the incense from the fire
Upon thine altar lit, O Muse?
There lies the votive offering,
Wilt thou the sacrifice refuse?
I bring this morn the liquid dew,
Caught from Aurora, as she flung
Her benison of dainty light
O'er skies where shad'wy curtains hung.
I bring the music caught from hearts,—
Strange minor chords, sad yet so sweet,
Which pain has seared with ceaseless clasp,
And gladness with a clasp so fleet.
I bring the music caught from souls
Aflame with hope and deepest love,
And kissed by Life with throbbing lips
Into the peace of calmest dove.
Is not the offering complete,
With complement of joy and pain?
Transformed into a stream of light,
It floats,—a harmony again.
I raise my eyes imploringly,
Come, holy Rapture, as before!
I kneel in supplication mute,
Oh! be the gift but mine, once more!
'Tis mine! 'tis mine! the altar glows!
The lyre quivers, touched by thee,
O Muse benignant! Low I bow,
Wrapped in a veil of mystery.
Before thy fane on sacred hills,
My daily orison I'll pour;
I have thy promise, gracious Muse,
Mine is the gift forevermore!
Last updated March 24, 2023