by: John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895)

      PIRIT that shaped the formless chaos,
      Breath that stirred the sluggish deep,
      When the primal crude creation
      Started from its dateless sleep;
      Spirit that heaved the granite mountains
      From the central fiery wells,
      Breath that drew the rolling rivers
      From the welkin's dewy cells,
      Spirit of motion,
      Earth and ocean
      Moulding into various life,
      Within, without us,
      And round about us
      Weaving all in friendly strife:
      Come, O come, thou heavenly guest,
      Shape a new world within my breast!

      Spirit that taught the holy fathers
      Wandering through the desert drear,
      To know and feel, through myriad marchings,
      One eternal presence near.
      Breath that touched the Hebrew prophets'
      Lips with words of wingèd fire,
      Through the dubious gloom of ages,
      Kindling hope and high desire;
      Spirit revealing
      To pure feeling,
      In the inward parts of man,
      Vast foreshadowings of Thy plan;
      Come, O come, thou prophet guest,
      Watch and wait within my breast!

      Spirit that o'er Thine own Messiah
      Hovered like a brooding dove,
      When Earth's haughty lords he conquered,
      By the peaceful march of love.
      Breath that hushed loud-vaunting Caesars,
      And in triumph yoked to Thee
      Iron Rome, and savage Scythia,
      Bonded brethren and the free.
      Spirit of union,
      And communion
      Of devoted heart with heart,
      Pure and holy,
      Sure and slowly
      Working out thy boastless part:
      Come, thou calmly-conquering guest,
      Rule and reign within my breast!

      Spirit that, when free-thoughted Europe
      With the triple-crowned despot strove,
      In the gusty Saxon's spirit
      Thy soul-stirring music wove;
      Then when pride's piled architecture
      At a poor monk's truthful word
      Crashing fell, and thrones were shaken
      At the whisper of the Lord.
      Spirit deep-lurking,
      Weaver of strange circumstance,
      All whose doing
      Is rise or ruin
      Named by shallow mortals chance;
      Come, let fruitful deeds attest
      Thy plastic virtue, in my breast!

      Spirit, that sway'st the will of mortals,
      Every wish, and every hope,
      Shaping to Thy forethought purpose
      All their striving, all their scope.
      Central tide that heavest onward
      Wave and wavelet, surge and spray,
      Making wrath of man to praise Thee,
      And his pride to pave Thy way:
      Spirit that workest,
      Where thou lurkest,
      Death from life, and day from night,
      Peace from warring,
      And from jarring,
      Songs of triumph and delight;
      Come, O come, Thou heavenly guest,
      Work all Thy will within my breast!

"To the Divine Spirit" is reprinted from The Selected Poems of John Stuart Blackie. Ed. Archibald Stodart Walker. London: John Macqueen, 1896.




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