THE VISION VISION OF .A.UGUSTINE AND MONICA: A PARAPHRASE FROM THE CONFESSIONS.
THEN thou rememberest how regarding long This lovely earth, an inward vision strong O'ercame us, till terrestrial beauty took An insubstantial seeming, the far look Of regions known in dream. Forsaking fear, We rose together to that ampler sphere, Where the sun burns, and in his train the moon, And myriad stars upon the darkness strewn, Illumine earth : on splendour past access Of fleshly eye, revolving weariless, We gazed; yet even as we gazed, the pang Of the eternal smote us : then we sprang From those bright circles, and each boundary passed Of sense, and into liberty at last, To our own souls we came, the haunted place Of thought, companionless as ancient space, Her lonely mirror; and uplifted thence Sighed upward to the eternal Effluence Of life, the intense glory that imbues
With far-off sheddings of its radiant hues
Mortality; that from the trees calls forth Young leaves, and flowers from the untended earth,.
And from the heart of man, joy and despair, Rapture and adoration, the dim prayer Of troubled lips, tears and ecstatic throes, And fearful love unfolding like the rose, And hymns of peace : whose everlasting power Draws up ten thousand spirits every hour, Like the bright vapour from ten thousand streams, Back to their home of homes, where thou with bearaa Of living light, 0 sun of human kind, Feedest the fainting and world-wounded mind, And from remembrance burnest out all fear.
Sustained a moment in that self-same sphere By wings of ecstasy, we hung, we drew Into our trembling souls the very hue Of Paradise, permitted the dear breath Of truth; us also ignorance of death Made mighty, and joy beyond the need of peace.
We of the certain light of blessedness A moment tasted : then, since ev'n desire Perishes of its own exceeding fire, Sighing our spirits failed and fell away, And sank into the tinge of alien day Unwillingly, to memory and the weight Of hope on the unsure heart, to armed fate, And prisoning time, and to the obscuring sound Of human words, 0 even to the ground !
The flame that fledged to that remotest height Our spirits winged upon impassioned flight, Sped us no more : but yet the usurping press Of mortal hours their wonted heaviness Relaxed, and on our rapture lightly leaned.
Now, as we gazed, a glory intervened : We saw, yet saw not; our thoughts lingered, where The rays yet reached them of celestial air ; And with hearts hushed, like children that have learned The meaning of some joy or fear, we turned To one another, and spoke softly, and drew Sighs, when that light smote on our thoughts anew.