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Kate Harrington

(1831 - 1917 / Allegheny City, Pennsylvania)

Apostrophe To The Galaxy


What are ye, arrayed in your robings of white,
Beyond where the sun drinks in oceans of light;
Surmounting the stars, ay, the farthest we see
Just penciling heaven to prove that ye be?
A cluster so dreamy, expanding, and fair
Creates in the mind a fond wish to be there.
Your orbit our vision can never descry:
What are ye, in fleecy attiring on high ?

Bright orbs, do ye give to the comet its ray,
Careering through space with impetuous sway?
Or, destined as vigils, watch over expanse,
To guard other worlds from the comet's advance?
So clustering are ye, so dense in your path,
Ye may save this fair earth from the wanderer's wrath.

What are ye? Oh, say, does your circuit extend
Round orbs where the angels their minstrelsy blend ?
And do ye pour forth on the throng and the choir
The splendor of light from the disk of your fire?
If such be your destiny, Galaxy bright,
The music how rapturous, blended with light!
Like the songs of the spheres when the Deity's voice
In the light of creation made angels rejoice.

What are ye? If not what the muse has defined,
Then are ye not orbits of beautiful mind ?
Are the white, stainless robes ye expand to our view
la chasteness the emblems of mind among you?
In fancy's excursions behold I not there
In your orbs so resplendent, your region so fair,
Intelligence, rising by intellect's force
Still nearer to Him, of perfection the source,
With natures immortal, all spotless in soul,
And cherishing mind, as in splendor ye roll?

Behold I not, grouped round your altars of praise,
Your children, at even, their orisons raise?
Or, cheerful and happy, in youth's ardent glow,
All sporting in fields where the wild-flowers grow?
A father bends over his boy with a smile,
A mother caresses her infant the while;
Joy blended with joy, and bliss mingled with bliss,
In the fond interchange of a smile and a kiss.

Methinks I can see, by your rills and bland streams,
Your poets, entranced in elysian dreams,
Or, waked from their raptures among your green bowers,
Rehearsing their numbers while culling the flowers;
The learned of your system—philosophers wise,
Astronomers, mapping the stars of your skies,
Vast oceans expanding, your landscapes serene,
Your redolent groves and your valleys of green.

If systems of mind ye are not, still the word,
What are ye ? No answer but echo is heard.
Do ye lead in the van of the spheres as they whirl?
Is the vision of whiteness the flag ye unfurl ?
And, on the reverse, are there emblems displayed
Of orbs in full splendor and glory arrayed ?

Whate'er ye may seem to our dim, mortal view,
Bright star-isles that gleam in your ocean of blue,
We will deem you a stellar assemblage refined,
And with you compare the bright grouping of mind,
To show how it can, like the stars, by its glow,
Relieve our life's orb from the gloom of its woe.

Submitted: Friday, August 08, 2014

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