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Alfred Domett

(20 May 1811 – 2 November 1887 / Camberwell, Surrey)

An Invitation


Well! if Truth be all welcomed with hardy reliance,
All the lovely unfoldings of luminous Science,
   All that Logic can prove or disprove be avowed:
Is there room for no faith -- though such Evil intrude --
In the dominance still of a Spirit of Good?
Is there room for no hope -- such a handbreadth we scan --
In the permanence yet of the Spirit of Man? --
   May we bless the far seeker, nor blame the fine dreamer?
   Leave Reason her radiance -- Doubt her due cloud;
   Nor their Rainbows enshroud? --

From our Life of realities -- hard -- shallow-hearted,
Has Romance -- has all glory idyllic departed --
   From the workaday World all the wonderment flown?
Well, but what if there gleamed, in an Age cold as this,
The divinest of Poets' ideal of bliss?
Yea, an Eden could lurk in this Empire of ours,
With the loneliest love in the loveliest bowers? --
   In an era so rapid with railway and steamer,
   And with Pan and the Dryads like Raphael gone --
   What if this could be shown?

O my friends, never deaf to the charms of Denial,
Were its comfortless comforting worth a life-trial --
   Discontented content with a chilling despair? --
Better ask as we float down a song-flood unchecked,
If our Sky with no Iris be glory-bedecked?
Through the gloom of eclipse as we wistfully steal
If no darkling aureolar rays may reveal
   That the Future is haply not utterly cheerless:
   While the Present has joy and adventure as rare
   As the Past when most fair?

And if weary of mists you will roam undisdaining
To a land where the fanciful fountains are raining
   Swift brilliants of boiling and beautiful spray
In the violet splendour of skies that illume
Such a wealth of green ferns and rare crimson tree-bloom;
Where a people primeval is vanishing fast,
With its faiths and its fables and ways of the past:
   O with reason and fancy unfettered and fearless,
   Come plunge with us deep into regions of Day --
   Come away -- and away! --

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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