The Himalayan Dawn

William Alexander

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'Tis dark around on either hand—
Old I am, marching in a mountain land.
Will the dawn never be unroll'd?
Mercy of heaven! but it is cold.
Hush! in some tongue I understand
A song is sung, a tale is told,
Telling of things that are both new and old.
Voice of the mountains grave and grand,
It tells how earth shall yet be rosed
With sweeter dawn than ever yet reposed
On it, when I was there to see.
When shall this be?
Not yet, not yet.
When, oh when?


When o'er my grave the grass shall still be wet
With dews of morn I cannot know,
The day of God shall dawn on earth below
With splendid glimmer far above the dark.—
What song was that from some dim distant glen?
Hark! hark!


Thou, whose soul with darkness aches,
Among these Himalayan brakes
Higher, look higher! some glory wakes,
Some glory that is grandly lent
For morning's fine presentiment;
Sure there are watchers for whose sakes,
Divinely on the mountain lawn
The long succession of the peaks
Is lit with fires.
From sacred snows superbly drawn
Touch'd with the dawn before the dawn,
The morn that cometh ere the morn,
The day's faint fancy of the day unborn—
A light is on yon far-up spires
Long ere it lies upon the lakes,
Striking the rhododendrons red
That circle round the rocks so far away,
Whilst the heav'ns' vault is still so gray
Starry, and thou in shadow art,
As yet a prophecy in part
Dark based, peak touch'd with fulgency divine,
The Himalaya of the heart
Begins to show the immeasurable line.


Pilgrim, pass on!—in lands beneath the hill
It shall be day when thou art gone,
For other eyes to see, not thine.
Thus man's long hope our God shall yet fulfil,
When we are still.

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