THE SEEN AND THE UNSEEN

Ha! yon burst of crystal splendor,
Sunlight, starlight, blent in one;
Starlight set in arctic azure,
Sunlight from the burning zone!
Gold and silver, gems and marble,
All creation’s jewelry;
Earth’s uncovered waste of riches,
Treasures of the ancient sea.
Heir of glory,
What is that to thee and me?

Iris and Aurora braided–
How the woven colors shine!
Snow-gleams from an Alpine summit.
Torch-light from a spar-roofed mine.
Like Arabia’s matchless palace,
Child of magic’s strong decree,
One vast globe of living sapphire,
Floor, walls, columns, canopy.
Heir of glory,
What is that to thee and me?

Forms of beauty, shapes of wonder,
Trophies of triumphant toil;
Never Athens, Rome, Palmyra,
Gazed on such a costly spoil.
Dazzling the bewildered vision,
More than princely pomp we see:
What the blaze of the Alhambra,
Dome of emerald, to thee?
Heir of glory,
What is that to thee and me?

Farthest cities pour their riches,
Farthest empires muster here,
Art her jubilee proclaiming
To the nations far and near.
From the crowd in wonder gazing,
Science claims the prostrate knee;
This her temple, diamond-blazing,
Shrine of her idolatry.
Heir of glory,
What is that to thee and me?

Listen to her tale of wonder,
Of her plastic, potent spell;
‘Tis a big and braggart story,
Yet she tells it fair and well.
She the gifted, gay magician,
Mistress of earth, air, and sea;
This majestic apparition,
Offspring of her sorcery.
Heir of glory,
What is that to thee and me?

What to that for which we’re waiting
Is this glittering earthly toy?
Heavenly glory, holy splendor,
Sum of grandeur, sum of joy.
Not the gems that time can tarnish,
Not the hues that dim and die,
Not the glow that cheats the lover,
Shaded with mortality.
Heir of glory,
That shall be for thee and me!

Not the light that leaves us darker,
Nor the gleams that come and go,
Not the mirth whose end is madness,
Not the joy whose fruit is woe;
Not the notes that die at sunset,
Not the fashion of a day;
But the everlasting beauty,
And the endless melody.
Heir of glory,
That shall be for thee and me!

City of the pearl-bright portal;
City of the jasper wall;
City of the golden pavement;
Seat of endless festival.
City of Jehovah, Salem,
City of eternity,
To thy bridal-hall of gladness,
From this prison would I flee.
Heir of glory,
That shall be for thee and me!

Ah! with such strange spells around me,
Fairest of what earth calls fair,
How I need thy fairer image,
To undo the syren snare?
Lest the subtle serpent-tempter
Lure me with his radiant lie;
As if sin were sin no longer,
Life were no more vanity.
Heir of glory,
What is that to thee and me?

Yes, I need _thee_, heavenly city,
My low spirit to upbear;
Yes, I need thee–earth’s enchantments
So beguile me with their glare.
Let me see thee, then these fetters
Break asunder; I am free;
Then this pomp no longer chains me;
Faith has won the victory.
Heir of glory,
That shall be for thee and me?

Soon where earthly beauty blinds not,
No excess of brilliance palls,
Salem, city of the holy,
We shall be within thy walls!
There, beside you crystal river,
There, beneath life’s wondrous tree,
There, with naught to cloud or sever–
Ever with the Lamb to be!
Heir of glory,
That shall be for thee and me!

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