To what bright world afar didst thou belong,
Thou whose pure soul seemed not of mortal birth?
From what fair clime of flowers and love and song,
Cam'st thou, a star beam to our shadowed earth?
What hadst thou done, sweet spirit in that sphere,
That thou wert banished here?
Here, where our blossoms early fade and die,
Where autumn frosts despoil our loveliest bowers,
Where song goes up to heaven an anguished cry
From wounded hearts, like perfume from crushed flowers;
Where Love despairing waits and weeps in vain,
His Psyche to regain.
Thou cam'st not unattended on thy way; --
Spirits of grace and beauty, joy and love,
Were with thee ever, bearing each some ray
From the far home that thou hadst left above;
And ever at thy side, upon our sight
Gleamed forth their wings of light.
We heard their voices in the gushing song
That rose like incense from thy poet heart;
We saw the footsteps of the shining throng
Glancing upon thy pathway, high apart,
Where in thy radiance thou didst walk the earth,
Thou child of glorious birth.
But the way lengthened and the song grew sad,
Breathing those tones that find no echo here;
Aspiring, soaring, but no longer glad,
Its mournful music fell upon the ear:
'Twas the home-sickness of a soul that sighs
For its own native skies.
Then he that to earth's children comes at last,
The angel-messenger, white-robed and pale,
Upon thy soul his sweet oblivion cast,
And bore thee gently through the shadowy vale,
The fleeting years of thy brief exile o'er,
Home to the blissful shore.
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.