The Glory of Nature

by Frederick Tennyson

Frederick Tennyson

IF only once the chariot of the Morn
Had scatter'd from its wheels the twilight dun,
But once the unimaginable Sun
Flash'd godlike thro' perennial clouds forlorn,
And shown us Beauty for a moment born;

If only once blind eyes had seen the Spring,
Waking amid the triumphs of midnoon;
But once had seen the lovely Summer boon
Pass by in state like a full-robed King,
The waters dance, the woodlands laugh and sing;

If only once deaf ears had heard the joy
Of the wild birds, or morning breezes blowing,
Or silver fountains from their caverns flowing,
Or the deep-voiced rivers rolling by;
Then Night eternal fallen from the sky;

If only once weird Time had rent asunder
The curtain of the Clouds, and shown us Night
Climbing into the awful Infinite
Those stairs whose steps are worlds, above and under,
Glory on glory, wonder upon wonder!

The Lightnings lit the Earthquake on his way;
The sovran Thunder spoken to the World;
The realm-wide banners of the Wind unfurl'd;
Earth-prison'd Fires broke loose into the day;
Or the great Seas awoke -- then slept for aye!

Ah! sure the heart of Man, too strongly tried
By Godlike Presences so vast and fair,
Withering with dread, or sick with love's despair,
Had wept for ever, and to Heaven cried,
Or struck with lightnings of delight had died.

But He, though heir of Immortality,
With mortal dust too feeble for the sight,
Draws thro' a veil God's overwhelming light;
Use arms the Soul -- anon there moveth by
A more majestic Angel -- and we die!

Last updated August 10, 2015