THE MASS AT DAWN
They would enter, but they cannot,
For there is no room remaining.
And within—how many tapers!
Radiant, glittering constellations!
They light up the arabesque-work,
Make the altars glow like tinder,
Hang in masses yellow fringes
On the columns, the adornments
Of the aisles incrust with jewels.
All the chandeliers of silver
Flash—how many unexpected
Bursts of luminous effulgence
Blind the eye, around the transept!
See the tapestries, how vivid,
Hanging on the gilded railings!
See the ornaments, how florid!
Oh, what colors! Oh, what contrasts!
And, upon the book-rests opened,
How the church grows white with missals!
See, it stirs, the throng of people
Moves and undulates and struggles,
Like the waters of a river
Which fill up their narrow channel,
Boiling, surging, seething madly,
Till they over-leap their borders!
All things shine and gleam and glitter:
Silk of skirts of antique fashion,
And the canopies brocaded,
Gold of necklaces that glimmer,
The dalmatics of rich crimson,
And the brooches set with brilliants,
And the velvet of dark prie-dieux,
And the broidered and heraldic
Garments of the host of pages.
The procession now advances;
Slowly cross the thick wax torches;
All the censers now turn over,
And the smoke the air embroiders.