The Song of the Pilgrims
(Halted around the fire by night, after moon-set, they sing this beneath the trees.)
What light of unremembered skies
Hast thou relumed within our eyes,
Thou whom we seek, whom we
shall find? . . .
A certain odour on the wind,
Thy hidden face beyond the west,
These things have called
us; on a quest
Older than any road we trod,
More endless than desire. . . .
Sigh with thy cruel voice, that fills
The soul with longing for dim hills
And faint horizons! For there come
moments of the antient dumb
Sickness of travel, when no song
Can cheer us; but the way seems long;
one remembers. . . .
Ah! the beat
Of weary unreturning feet,
And songs of pilgrims unreturning! . . .
The fires we left are always burning
the old shrines of home. Our kin
Have built them temples, and therein
Pray to the Gods we know; and
In little houses lovable,
Being happy (we remember how!)
And peaceful even to death. . . .
God of all long desirous roaming,
Our hearts are sick of fruitless homing,
And crying after lost desire.
us onward! as with fire
Consuming dreams of other bliss.
The best Thou givest, giving this
Sufficient thing --
to travel still
Over the plain, beyond the hill,
Unhesitating through the shade,
Amid the silence unafraid,
at some sudden turn, one sees
Against the black and muttering trees
Thine altar, wonderfully white,
the Forests of the Night.