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George William Russell Poems
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The Robing of the King by George William Russell
ON the bird of air blue-breasted glint the rays of gold,
And its shadowy fleece above us waves the forest old,
Far through rumorous leagues of midnight stirred by breezes warm.
See the old ascetic yonder, ah, poor withered form,
Where he crouches wrinkled over by unnumbered years
Through the leaves the flakes of moon-fire fall like phantom tears.
At the dawn a kingly hunter swept in proud disdain,
Like a rainbow torrent scattered flashed his royal train.
Now the lonely one unheeded seeks earth’s caverns dim:
Never king or prince will robe them radiantly as him
’Mid the deep enfolding darkness follow him, O seer,
Where the arrow will is piercing fiery sphere on sphere,
Through the blackness leaps and sparkles gold and amethyst,
Curling, jetting, and dissolving in a rainbow mist.
In the jewel glow and lunar radiance rises there
One, a morning star in beauty, young, immortal, fair:
Sealed in heavy sleep, the spirit leaves its faded dress,
Unto fiery youth returning out of weariness.
Music as for one departing, joy as for a king,
Sound and swell, and hark! above him cymbals triumphing.
Fire, an aureole encircling, suns his brow with gold,
Like to one who hails the morning on the mountains old.
Open mightier vistas, changing human loves to scorns,
And the spears of glory pierce him like a crown of thorns.
High and yet more high to freedom as a bird he springs,
And the aureole outbreathing, gold and silver wings
Plume the brow and crown the seraph: soon his journey done
He will pass our eyes that follow, sped beyond the sun.
None may know the mystic radiance, King, will there be thine,
Far beyond the light enfolded in the dark divine.
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