HARK! some wild trumpeter-some strange musician,
Hovering unseen in air, vibrates capricious tunes to-night.
I hear thee, trumpeter-listening, alert, I catch thy notes,
Now pouring, whirling like a tempest round me,
Now low, subdued-now in the distance lost.
Come nearer, bodiless one-haply, in thee resounds
Some dead composer-haply thy pensive life
Was fill’d with aspirations high-unform’d ideals,
Waves, oceans musical, chaotically surging,
That now, ecstatic ghost, close to me bending, thy cornet echoing, pealing,
Gives out to no one’s ears but mine-but freely gives to mine,
That I may thee translate.
Blow, trumpeter, free and clear-I follow thee,
While at thy liquid prelude, glad, serene,
The fretting world, the streets, the noisy hours of day, withdraw;
A holy calm descends, like dew, upon me,
I walk, in cool refreshing night, the
walks of Paradise,
I scent the grass, the moist air, and the roses;
Thy song expands my numb’d, imbonded spirit-thou freest, launchest me,
Floating and basking upon Heaven’s lake.
Blow again, trumpeter! and for my sensuous eyes,
Bring the old pageants-show the feudal world.
What charm thy music works!-thou makest pass before me,
Ladies and cavaliers long dead-barons are in their castle halls-the troubadours
Arm’d knights go forth to redress wrongs-some in quest of the Holy Grail:
I see the tournament-I see the contestants, encased in heavy armor, seated on
I hear the shouts-the sounds of blows and smiting steel:
I see the Crusaders’ tumultuous armies-Hark! how the cymbals clang!
Lo! where the monks walk in advance, bearing the cross on high!
Blow again, trumpeter! and for thy theme,
Take now the enclosing theme of all-the solvent and the setting;
Love, that is pulse of all-the sustenace and the pang;
The heart of man and woman all for love;
No other theme but love-knitting, enclosing, all-diffusing love.
O, how the immortal phantoms crowd around me!
I see the vast alembic ever working-I see and know the flames that heat the world;
The glow, the blush, the beating hearts
So blissful happy some-and some so silent, dark, and nigh to death:
Love, that is all the earth to lovers-Love, that mocks time and space;
Love, that is day and night-Love, that is sun and moon and stars;
Love, that is crimson, sumptuous, sick with perfume;
No other words, but words of love-no other thought but Love.
Blow again, trumpeter-conjure war’s Wild alarums.
Swift to thy spell, a shuddering hum like distant thunder rolls;
Lo! where the arm’d men hasten-Lo! mid the clouds of dust, the glint of
I see the grime-faced cannoniers-I mark the rosy flash amid the smoke-I hear the
cracking of the guns:
-Nor war alone-thy fearful music-song, wild player, brings every sight of fear,
The deeds of ruthless brigands-rapine, murder-I hear the cries for help!
I see ships foundering at sea-I behold on deck, and below deck, the terrible
O trumpeter! methinks I am myself the instrument thou playest!
Thou melt’st my heart, my brain-thou movest, drawest, changest them, at will:
And now thy sullen notes send darkness through me;
Thou takest away all cheering light-all hope:
I see the enslaved, the overthrown, the hurt, the opprest of the whole earth;
I feel the measureless shame and humiliation of my race-it becomes all mine;
Mine too the revenges of humanity-the wrongs of ages-baffled feuds and hatreds;
Utter defeat upon me weighs-all lost! the foe victorious!
(Yet ‘mid the ruins Pride colossal stands, unshaken to the last;
Endurance, resolution, to the last.)
Now, trumpeter, for thy close,
Vouchsafe a higher strain than any yet;
Sing to my soul-renew its languishing faith and hope;
Rouse up my slow belief-give me some vision of the future;
Give me, for once, its prophecy and joy.
O glad, exulting, culminating song!
A vigor more than earth’s is in thy notes!
Marches of victory-man disenthrall’d-the conqueror at last!
Hymns to the universal God, from universal Man-all joy!
A reborn race appears-a perfect World, all joy!
Women and Men, in wisdom, innocence and health-all joy!
Riotous, laughing bacchanals, fill’d with joy!
War, sorrow, suffering gone-The rank earth purged-nothing but joy left!
The ocean fill’d with joy-the atmosphere all joy!
Joy! Joy! in freedom, worship, love! Joy in the ecstacy of life!
Enough to merely be! Enough to breathe!
Joy! Joy! all over Joy!