McClure's Magazine/Volume 10/Yet Am I Not for Pity

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For me there are no cities, no proud halls.
No storied paintings—nor the chiseled snow
Of statues; never have I seen the glow
Of sunset die upon the deathless walls
Of the pure Parthenon; no soft light falls
For me in dim cathedrals, where the low,
Still seas of supplication ebb and flow;
No dream of Rome my longing soul enthralls.
But oh, to see in all her virgin white
Fair Venice rising from the purple sea!
Oh, but to feel one golden evening pale
On that famed island from whose lonely height
Dark Sappho sank in burning ecstacy!
But once—but once—to hear the nightingale!


Yet I am not for pity. This blue sea
Burns with the opal's deep and splendid fires
At sunset; these tall firs are classic spires
Of chaste design and marvelous symmetry
That lift to burnished skies. Let pity be
For him who never felt the mighty lyres
Of Nature shake him thro' with great desires.
These pearl-topped mountains shining silently—
They are God's sphinxes and God's pyramids;
These dim-aisled forests His cathedrals, where
The pale nun Silence tiptoes, velvet-shod,
And Prayer kneels with tireless, parted lids;
And thro' the incense of this holy air,
Trembling—I have come face to face with God.

Ella Higginson.