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O! He gives to us His joy
THE BOOK OF THEL
Does the Eagle know what is in the pit:
I The daughters of [the] Seraphim led round their sunny
flocks— All but the youngest: she in paleness sought the secret air, To fade away like morning be from her mortal day: Down by the river of Adona her soft voice is heard, And thus her gentle lamentation falls like morning dew:
‘O life of this our spring! why fades the lotus of the water? Why fade these children of the spring, born bút to smile
and fall ? Ah! Thel is like a watery bow, and like a parting cloud; Like a reflection in a glass; like shadows in the water; Like dreams of infants, like a smile upon an infant's face; Like the dove's voice; like transient day; like music in
the air. Ah! gentle may I lay me down, and gentle rest my head, And gentle sleep the sleep of death, and gentle hear the
voice Of Him that walketh in the garden in the evening time.' The Lily of the Valley, breathing in the humble grass, Answerèd the lovely maid and said: 'I am a wat'ry weed, And I am very small, and love to dwell in lowly vales; So weak, the gilded butterfly scarce perches on my head. Yet I am visited from heaven, and He that smiles on all Walks in the valley, and each morn over me spreads His
Saying, "Rejoice, thou humble grass, thou new-born lily
flower, Thou gentle maid of silent valleys and of modest brooks; For thou shalt be clothed in light, and fed with morning
manna, Till summer's heat melts thee beside the fountains and the
springs, To flourish in eternal vales.” Then why should Thel com
plain? Why should the mistress of the vales of Har utter a sigh ??
She ceased, and smiled in tears, then sat down in her
Thel answered: 'O thou little Virgin of the peaceful valley, Giving to those that cannot crave, the voiceless, the o'er
Thy breath doth nourish the innocent lamb, he smells thy
milky garments, He crops thy flowers while thou sittest smiling in his face, Wiping his mild and meekin mouth from all contagious
taints. Thy wine doth purify the golden honey; thy perfume, Which thou dost scatter on every little blade of grass that
springs, Revives the milked cow, and tames the fire-breathing steed. But Thel is like a faint cloud kindled at the rising sun: I vanish from my pearly throne, and who shall find my
'Queen of the vales,' the Lily answered, 'ask the tender
Cloud, And it shall tell thee why it glitters in the morning sky, And why it scatters its bright beauty through the humid
air. Descend, O little Cloud, and hover before the eyes of
The Cloud descended, and the Lily bowed her modest head, And went to mind her numerous charge among the verdant
'O little Cloud,' the Virgin said, 'I charge thee tell to me Why thou complainest not, when in one hour thou fade
away; Then we shall seek thee, but not find. Ah! Thel is like
to thee: I pass away; yet I complain, and no one hears my voice.'
The Cloud then showed his golden head, and his bright
form emerged, Hovering and glittering on the air before the face of
Thel. ‘O Virgin, know'st thou not our steeds drink of the golden
springs Where Luvah doth renew his horses? Look'st thou on
my youth, And fearest thou, because I vanish and am seen no more, Nothing remains ? O maid, I tell thee, when I pass away, It is to tenfold life, to love, to peace, and raptures holy: Unseen descending, weigh my light wings upon balmy
flowers, And court the fair-eyed dew, to take me to her shining
tent: The weeping virgin, trembling, kneels before the risen
sun, Till we arise, linked in a golden band and never part, But walk united, bearing food to all our tender flowers.'
Dost thou, O little Cloud ? I fear that I am not like thee, For I walk through the vales of Har, and smell the sweetest
flowers, But I feed not the little flowers; I hear the warbling birds, But I feed not the warbling birds; they fly and seek their
food: But Thel delights in these no more, because I fade away; And all shall say, “Without a use this shining woman
lived, Or did she only live to be at death the food of worms?” !
The Cloud reclined upon his airy throne, and answered
'Then if thou art the food of worms, O Virgin of the skies, How great thy use, how great thy blessing! Everything
that lives Lives not alone nor for itself. Fear not, and I will call The weak Worm from its lowly bed, and thou shalt hear
its voice. Come forth, Worm of the silent valley, to thy pensive
The helpless Worm arose, and sat upon the Lily's leaf, And the bright Cloud sailed on, to find his partner in the
Then Thel astonished viewed the Worm upon its dewy bed.
'Art thou a Worm? Image of weakness, art thou but a
Worm? I see thee like an infant wrapped in the Lily's leaf. Ah! weep not, little voice, thou canst not speak, but thou
canst weep. Is this a Worm? I see thee lay helpless and naked, weep
ing, And none to answer, none to cherish thee with mother's
smiles.' The Clod of Clay heard the Worm's voice, and raised her
pitying head; She bowed over the weeping infant, and her life exhaled In milky fondness: then on Thel she fixed her humble
'O Beauty of the vales of Har! we live not for ourselves.
know; I ponder, and I cannot ponder; yet I live and love.'
The daughter of beauty wiped her pitying tears with her
white veil, And said: 'Alas! I knew not this, and therefore did I weep. That God would love a worm I knew, and punish the evil
foot That wilful bruised its helpless form; but that He cher
ished it With milk and oil, I never knew, and therefore did I weep; And I complained in the mild air, because I fade away, And lay me down in thy cold bed, and leave my shining lot.'
'Queen of the vales,' the matron Clay answered, 'I heard
thy sighs, And all thy moans flew o'er my roof, but I have called
them down. Wilt thou, O queen, enter my house? 'Tis given thee to
enter, And to return: fear nothing; enter with thy virgin feet.'
The eternal gates' terrific porter lifted the northern bar;
She wandered in the land of clouds through valleys dark,
listening Dolours and lamentations; waiting oft beside a dewy grave She stood in silence, listening to the voices of the ground, Till to her own grave-plot she came, and there she sat
down, And heard this voice of sorrow breathèd from the hollow
‘Why cannot the ear be closed to its own destruction?