Charles Harpur

Humanity

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I dreamed I was a sculptor, and had wrought
Out of a towering adamantine crag
A mighty figure, stately, giant-limbed,
And with the face of a Homeric god.
Planted aloft upon the levelled cone
Of a vast tumulus, that seemed to swell
Above the sinking outline of the view
As up from the dusk past, firm fixed it stood,
Full in the face of the resplendent morn
Against the deep of heaven all flecked with clouds;
And I methought was glorying in my work
One large arm lay upon the powerful breast,
The other held a scroll. The ample head,
Majestic in its dome-like curvatures,
Looked heedful out with full expectant eyes
Over the brightening world, and in the lines
And gracious curves of nostrils and of lips
You traced the use of smiles. But on the brows
There pained a weight and weariness of thought,
And furrows spake of care. Much, too, of doubt
Shadowed the meaning of the mighty face;
Much was there also in its cast, that seemed
Significant of a striving to believe,
To be the liege of an ancestral faith
In things remote, unsecular, more the birth
Of mystic than sciential lore, and thence
But half assured itself.
Such was my work:
A formal type, though dream-designed, it seemed
Of that great ultimate of manhood, which
By daring, hoping, doing, and enduring,
Doubting, divining,—still from age to age
Doth mould the world, and lead it truthward on,
Even through its seers, its heroes, and its kings:
For all who saw it were constrained, methought,
To sigh, as they looked up—“Humanity.”

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Charles Harpur