Verse > Anthologies > George Willis Cooke, ed. > The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology
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George Willis Cooke, comp.  The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology.  1903.
 
The Old Song and the New
By Augusta Cooper Bristol (1835–1910)
 
THE OLD

CLOSE are the shadows and dim is the day;
  God is away from the world!
Twilight encloseth the finite for aye;
  God is away from the world!
Outward Humanity leaneth in vain,        5
Straining her vision a witness to gain
Of the background being—the infinite plain;—
  God is away from the world!
 
He hath no part in the voices of earth;
  God is away from the world!        10
Man hath appraised them, and noted their worth;
  God is away from the world!
Gather the sounds of the sea and the air,
Harmonies subtle, and symphonies rare,—
Still not a whisper from Deity there;        15
  God is away from the world!
 
Vainly we seek with the eye and the ear;
  God is away from the world!
His vesture and footprints no longer appear;
  God is away from the world!        20
He cometh no more with a daily accost
To the finite; the garden is cold with the frost,
And the echoes of Eden forever are lost:
  God is away from the world.
 
Heaven hath no actual commerce with man;        25
  God is away from the world!
He hath perfected His purpose and plan;
  God is away from the world!
Creation is finished; He sitteth apart,
In a glory too dread for the scene of His art;        30
Too piercingly pure for Humanity’s heart;
  God is away from the world!
 
Truth is not ours, in its absolute ray;—
  God is away from the world!
Only poor gleams of the actual day;        35
  God is away from the world!
We reach not the substance; we touch but the screen;
Our hope is the victim that ’s lifted between
The real and the seeming, the Christ-Nazarene;
  God is away from the world!        40
 
THE NEW

Heirs of the Morning, we walk in the light;
  God is forever with man!
A day that hath never a noon or a night;
  God is forever with man!
A day without limit, whose glories unfold        45
The statutes that time and eternity hold;
An endless becoming its measure and mould;
  God is forever with man!
 
He sitteth a guest in Humanity’s soul;
  God is forever with man!        50
Life leadeth on to an infinite goal;
  God is forever with man!
Inward, not outward, is Deity’s shrine,
The Presence Eternal—the Spirit Divine,
And being becomes immortality’s sign;        55
  God is forever with man!
 
Truth is not veiled to mortality’s eye;
  God is forever with man!
We have a witness on which to rely;
  God is forever with man!        60
The word is eternal, and cometh to all;
And the inward rebuke, and the heart’s ceaseless call,
Are tones from the lips of the Father that fall;
  God is forever with man!
 
Of all that is real the human hath part;        65
  God is forever with man!
Our roots are the veins of the Infinite Heart;
  God is forever with man!
The Christ liveth ever in creature disguise;
The Logos by which every soul shall arise        70
The gospel and glory of self-sacrifice;
  God is forever with man!
 
Sing, little bluebird, the message ye bring;
  God is forever with man!
Cleave the soft air with a rapturous wing;        75
  God is forever with man!
Warble the story to forest and rill,
Sweep up the valley and bear to the hill
The sacred refrain of your passionate trill;
  God is forever with man!        80
 
Open bright roses, and blossom the thought;
  God is forever with man!
Precious the meaning your beauty hath wrought;
  God is forever with man!
Spread out the sweet revelation of bloom,        85
Lift and release from an odorous tomb,
The secret embalmed in a honeyed perfume;
  God is forever with man!
 
Dance, happy billow, and say to the shore,
  God is forever with man!        90
Echo, sea-caverns, the truth evermore,
  God is forever with man!
Bear on, Creation, the symbol and sign,
That being unfolds in an aura divine,
The soul moveth on in an infinite line;        95
  God is forever with man!
 
 
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