Sometimes, in daylight hours, awake,
Our souls with visions teem
Which to the slumbering brain would take
The form of wondrous dream.
Once, with my thought-sight, I descried
A plain with hills around;
- lordly company on each side Leaves bare the middle ground.
Great terrace-steps at one end rise
To something like a throne,
And thither all the radiant eyes,
As to a centre, shone.
- snow-white glory, dim-defined, Those seeking eyes beseech--
Him who was not in fire or wind,
But in the gentle speech.
They see his eyes far-fixed wait:
Adown the widening vale
They, turning, look; their breath they bate,
With dread-filled wonder pale.
In raiment worn and blood-bedewed,
With faltering step and numb,
Toward the shining multitude
A weary man did come.
His face was white, and still-composed,
As of a man nigh dead;
The eyes, through eyelids half unclosed,
A faint, wan splendour shed.
Drops on his hair disordered hung
Like rubies dull of hue;
His hands were pitifully wrung,
And stricken through and through.
Silent they stood with tender awe:
Between their ranks he came;
Their tearful eyes looked down, and saw
What made his feet so lame.
He reached the steps below the throne,
There sank upon his knees;
Clasped his torn hands with stifled groan,
And spake in words like these:--
"Father, I am come back. Thy will
Is sometimes hard to do."
From all that multitude so still
A sound of weeping grew.
Then mournful-glad came down the One;
He kneeled and clasped his child;
Lay on his breast the outworn man,
And wept until he smiled.
The people, who, in bitter woe
And love, had sobbed and cried,
Raised aweful eyes at length--and, Lo,
The two sat side by side!