Battle-Retrospect, and Other Poems/The Gradual Apocalypse

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THE GRADUAL APOCALYPSE.

Men have known beauty when the world was young;
Earth has been rimmed with fires and with snows
Unearthly, apparitional! God knows
Whence all these blinding pageants were upsprung
Or why, so many other souls among,
Some only saw the rose of life unclose
Before its time, and paradisal shows,
Bright hosts, and purple panoplies unflung.


Life flames with glory still, a light escapes
From rifts and rents in nature's worn disguise,
The sackcloth vesture that God's splendour drapes
Crumbles to ashes, and before our eyes
The earth takes fire with beauty and its shapes
Glow in apocalypse that gains the skies.