At the Grave of Serra

By George Sterling

'Tis midnight, and the Eagle seeks the sea,
Which, near at hand, eternally intones
Its woe immeasurable. Thro the pane
Of yonder casement giving on the south,
The moonlight holds a chill and gleaming shaft
Above the grave where Serra sleeps.  O heart!
Flaming, audacious heart, so long in dust!
'Twas thy reward to die ere died thy works,
To perish, ere the Vision too was fled.
The vineyard and the orchard and the fold
Have passed, and passed as well that other Flock
Thy tenderest concern, O spirit pure!
Who, in an age of infamy and gold
Saw souls alone. The timbers of thy fane
Have men at last renewed; but where are they,
The humble, dusky thousands of thy care?
One mould with thee!  About thy place of sleep
The futile, peering pleasure-seekers come,
Glance, and forget. Thy kin in Christ draw near,
Little in numbers now, and less in faith;
For where the faith that grasped thee like a hand
And led thee on to peril and to pain?
The lamp burns low. They ask for them a sign.

Thou Power unseen whose hands implacable
Close in despair what man begins in hope,—
Unto what end, O Fate! Unto what end
Dost thou hale forth on quests irradiant
Thy nobler sons? Is duty  but a jest,
Seeing its guerdon given? In thy sight
Is Goodness even as Evil? Shall she find
Her wages also death? Wilt thou deride
Our ancient search for justice in thy ways?
With bitter viands evermore appease
Our hunger and our thirst for righteousness?
Dost fashion beauty for a moth's desire,
And sow the life to garner thee but dust?

The soundless grave is not more still than Thou,
The moon less husht in heaven…About my feet
The shadows change…I hear the unchanging sea.

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