Before A Midnight Breaks In Storm


Before a midnight breaks in storm,
 Or herded sea in wrath, 
Ye know what wavering gusts inform 
 The greater tempest's path;
 Till the loosed wind
 Drive all from mind,
Except Distress, which, so will prophets cry, 
O'ercame them, houseless, from the unhinting sky.
Ere rivers league against the land 
 In piratry of flood, 
Ye know what waters steal and stand
 Where seldom water stood. 
 Yet who will note, 
 Till fields afloat, 
And washen carcass and the returning well,
Trumpet what these poor heralds strove to tell? 
Ye know who use the Crystal Ball 
 (To peer by stealth on Doom), 
The Shade that, shaping first of all, 
 Prepares an empty room. 
 Then doth It pass 
 Like breath from glass,
But, on the extorted Vision bowed intent, 
No man considers why It came or went.
Before the years reborn behold 
 Themselves with stranger eye, 
And the sport-making Gods of old,
 Like Samson slaying, die, 
 Many shall hear 
 The all-pregnant sphere, 
Bow to the birth and sweat, but, speech denied, 
Sit dumb or, dealt in part, fall weak and wide. 
Yet instant to fore-shadowed need
 The eternal balance swings;
That winged men, the Fates may breed
 So soon as Fate hath wings.
 These shall possess
 Our littleness,
And in the imperial task (as worthy) lay
Up our lives' all to piece one giant Day.


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