Frances Anne Kemble

(27 November 1809 - 15 January 1893 / London, England)

A Vision Of The Vatican - Poem by Frances Anne Kemble

In the great palace halls, where dwell the gods,
I heard a voice filling the vaulted roof;
The heart that uttered it seemed sorrow-proof,
And, clarion-like, it might have made the clods
Of the dead valley start to sudden life,
With such a vigour and a joy 'twas rife.
And, coming towards me, lo! a woman past,
Her face was shining as the morning bright,
And her feet fell in steps so strong and light,
I scarce could tell if she trod slow or fast:
She seemed instinct with beauty and with power,
And what she sang, dwells with me to this hour.

'Transfigured from the gods' abode I come,
I have been tarrying in their awful home;
Stand from my path, and give me passage free,
For yet I breathe of their divinity.
Zeus have I knelt to, solemn and serene,
And stately Herè, heaven's transcendent queen;
Phoebus's light is on my brow, and fleet,
As silver-sandalled Artemis', my feet;

Graciously smiling, heavenly Aphrodite
Hath filled my senses with a vague delight;
And Pallas, steadfastly beholding me,
Hath sent me forth in wisdom to be free.'

When at the portal, smiling she did turn,
And, looking back through the vast halls profound,
Re-echoing with her song's triumphant sound,
She bowed her head, and said—'I shall return!'
Then raised her face, all radiant with delight,
And vanished, like a vision, from my sight.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 6, 2010

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