Verse > Anthologies > William Wilfred Campbell, ed. > The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse
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William Wilfred Campbell, comp.  The Oxford Book of Canadian Verse.  1913.
 
The Temple of the Ages
By Frederick George Scott (1861–1944)
 
THESE mountains sleep, with winter’s mantle round them,
  The thunder’s voice no longer breaks their rest;
From bluest heights the sun beholds with rapture
  The noble pose of each gigantic crest.
 
The generations of the clouds have vanished        5
  Which lingered idly here through autumn days;
The leaves have gone, the voices of the tempest
  No longer roll to heaven their hymn of praise.
 
Deep hid in snow, the streams with muffled murmurs
  Pour down dark caverns to the infinite sea;        10
This awful peace has vexed their restless childhood;
  They hurry from its dread solemnity.
 
Even the climbing woods are mute and spellbound,
  And halting midway on the steep ascent,
The patient spruces hold their breath for wonder,        15
  Nor shake the snow with which their boughs are bent.
 
Now as the sun goes down with all his shining,
  Huge shadows creep among these mighty walls,
And on the haunting ghosts of bygone ages
  The dreamy splendour of the starlight falls.        20
 
Not Nineveh, not Babylon nor Egypt,
  In all their treasures ’neath the hungry sand,
Can show a sight so awful and majestic
  As this waste temple in this newer land.
 
The king that reared these mighty courts was Chaos,        25
  His servants, fire and elemental war;
The Titan hands of Earthquake and of Ocean
  These granite slabs and pillars laid in store.
 
And lauding here the vast and living Father,
  The ages one by one have knelt and prayed,        30
Until the ghostly echoes of their worship
  Come back and make man’s puny heart afraid.
 
 
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