The Great War

from War: an Ode And Other Poems, an electronic edition

"In the White City of Thy Soul"

In the white city of thy soul

I see thy flickering, dim desires,

Like frozen fires,

That faintly glow,

And all the pinnacles and spires

Are fashioned of virgin snow;

Thro' the white city of thy soul,

The thin wan feet of Fancies go.

In the white city of thy soul

Are great, unlit, mysterious towers,

Where passionate Powers

Are laid asleep,

And all the paths are hid with flowers,

Which only passing Angels reap;

In the white city of thy soul,

No joys exult, no sorrows weep.

In the white city of thy soul,

On silence built, with silence crowned,

There is no sound--

But whispered prayer.

No laughter in the streets is found,

Nor curse of sin, nor sign of care.

In the white city of thy soul

All things are calm, and cold, and fair.

Round the white city of thy soul

High battlements and ramparts run,

Keeping the sun

And wind away;

And dreams in cloistered shadows shun

The light and noise of garish day.

Round the white city of thy soul

Are turrets tall, and strong, and grey.

It lies, the city of thy soul,

White and mysterious and dim,

Filled to the brim

With poesio--

A chalice with a carven rim

Of fleur de lys.

It sleeps, the city of thy soul,

From pity and from passion free.

Yet to the city of thy soul

A day will come, when every wall

Will shake, will fall,

Will crash asunder,

For to thy heart a heart will call

With a beat of thunder,

And all the city of thy soul

Will grow alight with joy and wonder.

Then, in the city of thy soul,

The frozen flames will flare and leap,

The Powers asleep

Irradiant rise;

In the green gardens men will reap

Beauty, and wisdom, songs and sighs,

And all the city of thy soul

Will be alive with happy eyes.

In the white city of thy soul,

The cloistered dreams will all come true,

And dance in dew,

And hail the sun,

And all the visions they pursue,

Of fancy born, of moonlight spun,

In the white city of thy soul

Will grow incarnate one by one.

In the white city of thy soul,

Each dim arcade, each mystic street,

Will grow as sweet

As April-tide;

And Joy will run with the happy feet

And rosy blushes of a bride,

For, through the city of thy soul,

Love like a King will ride.