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The Rose Enthroned - The Atlantic

  It melts and seethes, the chaos that shall grow
    To adamant beneath the house of life:
  In hissing hatred atoms clash, and go
      To meet intenser strife.

  And ere that fever leaves the granite veins,
    Down thunders o'er the waste a torrid sea:
  Now Flood, now Fire, alternate despot reigns,—
      Immortal foes to be.

  Built by the warring elements, they rise,
    The massive earth-foundations, tier on tier,
  Where slimy monsters with unhuman eyes
      Their hideous heads uprear.

  The building of the world is not for you
    That glare upon each other, and devour:
  Race floating after race fades out of view,
      Till beauty springs from power

  Meanwhile from crumbling rocks and shoals of death
    Shoots up rank verdure to the hidden sun;
  The gulfs are eddying to the vague, sweet breath
      Of richer life begun,—

  Richer and sweeter far than aught before,
    Though rooted in the grave of what has been.
  Unnumbered burials yet must heap Earth's floor,
      Ere she her heir shall win;

  And ever nobler lives and deaths more grand
    For nourishment of that which is to come:
  While 'mid the ruins of the work she planned
      Sits Nature, blind and dumb.

  For whom or what she plans, she knows no more
    Than any mother of her unborn child;
  Yet beautiful forewarnings murmur o'er
      Her desolations wild.

  Slowly the clamor and the clash subside:
    Earth's restlessness her patient hopes subdue:
  Mild oceans shoreward heave a pulse-like tide:
      The skies are veined with blue.

  And life works through the growing quietness
    To bring some darling mystery into form:
  Beauty her fairest Possible would dress
      In colors pure and warm.

  Within the depths of palpitating seas
    A tender tint;—anon a line of grace
  Some lovely thought from its dull atom frees,
             The coming joy to trace;—

  A pencilled moss on tablets of the sand,
    Such as shall veil the unbudded maiden-blush
  Of beauty yet to gladden the green land;—
             A breathing, through the hush,

  Of some sealed perfume longing to burst out
    And give its prisoned rapture to the air;—
  A brooding hope, a promise through a doubt
             Is whispered everywhere.

  And, every dawn a shade more clear, the skies
    A flush as from the heart of heaven disclose:
  Through earth and sea and air a message flies,
             Prophetic of the Rose.

  At last a morning comes of sunshine still,
    When not a dew-drop trembles on the grass;
  When all winds sleep, and every pool and rill
             Is like a burnished glass

  Where a long-looked-for guest may lean to gaze;
    When day on earth rests royally,—a crown
  Of molten glory, flashing diamond rays,
             From heaven let lightly down.

  In golden silence, breathless, all things stand.
    What answer meets this questioning repose?
  A sudden gush of light and odors bland,
             And, lo! the Rose! the Rose!

  The birds break into canticles around;
    The winds lift Jubilate to the skies:
  For, twin-born with the rose on Eden-ground,
             Love blooms in human eyes.

  Life's marvellous queen-flower blossoms only so,
    In dust of low ideals rooted fast.
  Ever the Beautiful is moulded slow
             From truth in errors past.

  What fiery fields of Chaos must be won,
    What battling Titans rear themselves a tomb,
  What births and resurrections greet the sun,
             Before the rose can bloom!

  And of some wonder-blossom yet we dream,
    Whereof the time that is infolds the seed,—
  Some flower of light, to which the rose shall seem
             A fair and fragile weed.