The Atlantic Monthly/Volume 18/Number 107/The Voice


A saintly Voice fell on my ear,
Out of the dewy atmosphere:—
"O hush, dear Bird of Night, be mute,—
Be still, O throbbing heart and lute!"
The Night-Bird shook the sparkling dew
Upon me as he ruffed and flew:
My heart was still, almost as soon,
My lute as silent as the moon:
I hushed my heart, and held my breath,
And would have died the death of death,
To hear—but just once more—to hear
That Voice within the atmosphere.

Again The Voice fell on my ear,
Out of the dewy atmosphere!—
The same words, but half heard at first,—
I listened with a quenchless thirst;
And drank as of that heavenly balm,
The Silence that succeeds a psalm:
My soul to ecstasy was stirred:—
It was a Voice that I had heard
A thousand blissful times before;
But deemed that I should hear no more
Till I should have a spirit's ear,
And breathe another atmosphere!

Then there was Silence in my ear,
And Silence in the atmosphere,
And silent moonshine on the mart,
And Peace and Silence in my heart:
But suddenly a dark Doubt said,
"The fancy of a fevered head!"
A wild, quick whirlwind of desire
Then wrapt me as in folds of fire.
I ran the strange words o'er and o'er,
And listened breathlessly once more:
And lo, the third time I did hear
The same words in the atmosphere!

They fell and died upon my ear,
As dew dies on the atmosphere;
And then an intense yearning thrilled
My Soul, that all might be fulfilled:
"Where art thou, Blessed Spirit, where?—
Whose Voice is dew upon the air!"
I looked, around me, and above,
And cried aloud: "Where art thou, Love?
O let me see thy living eye,
And clasp thy living hand, or die!"—
Again upon the atmosphere
The self-same words fell: "I Am Here."

"Here? Thou art here, Love!"—"I Am Here."
The echo died upon my ear!
I looked around me—everywhere,—
But ah! there was no mortal there!
The moonlight was upon the mart,
And awe and wonder in my heart.
I saw no form!—I only felt
Heaven's Peace upon me as I knelt,
And knew a Soul Beatified
Was at that moment by my side:—
And there was Silence in my ear,
And Silence in the atmosphere!

This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.