Walter Richard Cassels

(1826-1907 / England)

The Delectable Mountains

How light and pleasant is the way
Across this quiet valley, whose soft mead
Springs lightly as the air that angels tread,
Beneath our footsteps weariless all day!
This crystal river flowing by our side,
One stream of sunshine, still has seem'd a guide
From Heaven in pure angelical array.

These purple mountains now are nigh,
That all the valley through have fill'd our eyes
With day-dreams of the distant Paradise,
Their sun-surrounded summits can descry--
We mount them now upon Hope's bounding wing,
That makes each short swift footstep long to spring
Suddenly upward to the shadeless sky.

The air methinks is lighter here--
And the breast heaves with full untrammell'd ease,
Drinking the life-draught of the fragrant breeze,
That wafts its soul-sighs to another sphere.
Earth groweth little in our eyes, but fair,
Fair as though sin had never enter'd there--
Earth groweth little as Heaven draweth near.

This rock--and then at last we stand
Upon the silent summit--scarce I dare
Gaze outward, through the clear and azure air,
Towards the radiance of the Promised Land:
I am so weak and fallen, friend, I fear
Mine eyes will dazzle, and the light appear
Darkness, so that I shall not see the Promised Land.

Look thou afar, and tell me true
What thou discernest!--Oh! my eyes grow dim,
And floods of golden glories seem to swim,
Wave upon wave, through all the cloudless blue,
Blinding me with their sunny splendors quite,
So that, amid the pure excess of light,
But vaguest visions faintly glimmer through.

Yet now, methinks, I seem to see
One spot of burning brightness, beaming clear
Through all the floating glory, like a sphere
Quenching light with its own intensity.
Yes! yes! it is the Holy City I behold,
With God's sun, from its towers of burnish'd gold,
Reflected broadly through immensity!

I must gaze out, although I die:
Ah! yes, I see it through my longing tears--
A great clear glow of glory there appears,
Like a light-fountain in the eastern sky,
That as I gaze pours forth its living light,
Flooding Creation, till the dazzled sight
Sees Heaven in all things that around it lie.

So shall it ever henceforth be--
Who, that discerneth once God's dwelling-place,
Can blot from vision the refulgent trace!
Ay! henceforth all things shall be Heaven to me--
And as I journey on shall brightly rise
Divinest semblances of Paradise--
Heaven mine in Time and in Eternity.

Submitted: Monday, October 11, 2010

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