All Quiet along the Potomac and other poems/"Svala, Svala Honom!"

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"SVALA, SVALA HONOM!"[1]


NOT for thy prophetic music,
 Of the summer to be born,
Not for sake of plumage shining
 In the early April morn,
Listen I, O circling swallow,
 In the hush of twilight rest,
To thy vesper hymn so tender,
 Evening-hymn of cheer and rest:
 "Svala, svala honom!"

Since the strange unwonted twilight
 Hid the thorn-encircled Head,
Thou, O bird of consolation,
 Hast thy word of comfort said.
On the cross above Him, staying
 Wing and foot, the legend saith,
Thou, O sympathizing swallow,
 Chanted till his dying breath:
 "Svala, svala honom!"

'Tis a pretty legend truly,
 Born beneath the midnight sun,
From the monkish convent story,
 Or the painted missal won.

Still I hear the echo chanted,
 Down the ages sounding sweet;
Still I hear the brooding murmur,
 Softly still thy prayer repeat:
 "Svala, svala honom!"

So I fancy cheer and comfort
 With the whirring of thy wings;
Still I wait and bid my sorrow
 Vanish when the swallow sings;
Thinking how much nearer heaven
 Birds can flutter, as they will,
Than I, and so repeat the whisper
 Through the ether blue and still:
 "Svala, svala honom!"



  1. "Console, console him!"