Menella Bute Smedley

Copernicus

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The mountain church of Frauenburg
Hath many a narrow bed,
Where the oaken cross points upward,
And peasants weep their dead;
Stand we beside this graven stone,
And veil the reverent brow,
And muse upon the mighty one
Whose body lies below.
Earth lay in darkness, as a star
He rose upon the night,
And outlines of the things that are
Shone dimly by his light.
How dreamy looks the world's wild youth
To us of later time,
Familiar with God's ancient truth,
So simple, so sublime!
He first it was whose piercing eye
Went through the mists, and saw
In endless changes, unity,
And in confusion, law.
Though other hands unwound the clue
To realms of clearer day,
All honour to the First is due
Who pointed them the way.
He moved through life as one who hears
And answers from within
Faint music from celestial spheres,
Through earth's discordant din.
Well might he stand with brows inclined,
In silence and apart:
A thought of the Creator's mind
Had pass'd into his heart.
What hours were his of happy toil,
Toil that itself repays,
What victories of bloodless spoil,
What fruitful nights and days!
For him the very darkness gleam'd
With inner radiance fraught,
And the solitudes of starlight teem'd
With multitudinous thought.

Fame hath a jealousy of life,
Her fairest wreaths and best
Still pass the labour and the strife
To crown the time of rest;
Long years of lonely working o'er,
There came, at length, the hour
When to the dying sage they bore
The record of his power.
In vain! What matter'd then to him
All he had hoped and plann'd?
The lustre of his life grew dim
With perfect day at hand;
He leaves for other feet to climb
The way which first he trod;
His spirit, having done with Time,
Stands face to face with God.

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Menella Bute Smedley