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John Marr and Other Poems by Herman Melville

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On golden axles worlds are turning:
With phosphorescence seas are burning!
All fire-flies flame with golden gleamings!
Gold-hunters' hearts with golden dreamings!
With golden arrows kings are slain:
With gold we'll buy a freeman's name!
In toilsome trades, for scanty earnings,
At home we've slaved, with stifled yearnings:
No light! no hope! Oh, heavy woe!
When nights fled fast, and days dragged slow.
But joyful now, with eager eye,
Fast to the Promised Land we fly:
Where in deep mines,
The treasure shines;
Or down in beds of golden streams,
The gold-flakes glance in golden gleams!
How we long to sift,
That yellow drift!
Rivers! Rivers! cease your goings!
Sand-bars! rise, and stay the tide!
'Till we've gained the golden flowing;
And in the golden haven ride!

THE LAND OF LOVE

Hail! voyagers, hail!
Whence e'er ye come, where'er ye rove,
No calmer strand,
No sweeter land,
Will e'er ye view, than the Land of Love!

Hail! voyagers, hail!
To these, our shores, soft gales invite:
The palm plumes wave,
The billows lave,
And hither point fix'd stars of light!

Hail! voyagers, hail!
Think not our groves wide brood with gloom;
In this, our isle,
Bright flowers smile:
Full urns, rose-heaped, these valleys bloom.

Hail! voyagers, hail!
Be not deceived; renounce vain things;
Ye may not find
A tranquil mind,
Though hence ye sail with swiftest wings.

Hail! voyagers, hail!
Time flies full fast; life soon is o'er;
And ye may mourn,
That hither borne,
Ye left behind our pleasant shore.

Poems From Clarel

DIRGE

Stay, Death, Not mine the Christus-wand
Wherewith to charge thee and command:
I plead. Most gently hold the hand
Of her thou leadest far away;
Fear thou to let her naked feet
Tread ashes--but let mosses sweet
Her footing tempt, where'er ye stray.
Shun Orcus; win the moonlit land
Belulled--the silent meadows lone,
Where never any leaf is blown
From lily-stem in Azrael's hand.
There, till her love rejoin her lowly
(Pensive, a shade, but all her own)
On honey feed her, wild and holy;
Or trance her with thy choicest charm.
And if, ere yet the lover's free,
Some added dusk thy rule decree--
That shadow only let it be
Thrown in the moon-glade by the palm.

EPILOGUE
_If Luther's day expand to Darwin's year,_
_Shall that exclude the hope--foreclose the fear?_

Unmoved by all the claims our times avow,
The ancient Sphinx still keeps the porch of
shade;
And comes Despair, whom not her calm may
cow,
And coldly on that adamantine brow
Scrawls undeterred his bitter pasquinade.
But Faith (who from the scrawl indignant
turns)
With blood warm oozing from her wounded
trust,
Inscribes even on her shards of broken urns
The sign o' the cross--_the spirit above the dust!_

Yea, ape and angel, strife and old debate--
The harps of heaven and dreary gongs of hell;
Science the feud can only aggravate--
No umpire she betwixt the chimes and knell:
The running battle of the star and clod
Shall run forever--if there be no God.

Degrees we know, unknown in days before;
The light is greater, hence the shadow more;
And tantalized and apprehensive Man
Appealing--Wherefore ripen us to pain?
Seems there the spokesman of dumb Nature's
train.

But through such strange illusions have they
passed
Who in life's pilgrimage have baffled striven--
Even death may prove unreal at the last,
And stoics be astounded into heaven.

Then keep thy heart, though yet but
ill-resigned--
Clarel, thy heart, the issues there but mind;
That like the crocus budding through the
snow--
That like a swimmer rising from the deep--
That like a burning secret which doth go
Even from the bosom that would hoard and
keep;
Emerge thou mayst from the last whelming
sea,
And prove that death but routs life into victory.

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