Night, with her power to silence day,
Filled up my lonely room,
Quenching all sounds but one that lay
Beyond her passing doom,
Where in his shed a workman gay
Went on despite the gloom.
I listened, and I knew the sound,
And the trade that he was plying;
For backwards, forwards, bound on bound,
A shuttle was flying, flying–
Weaving ever–till, all unwound,
The weft go out a sighing.
As hidden in thy chamber lowest
As in the sky the lark,
Thou, mystic thing, on working goest
Without the poorest spark,
And yet light’s garment round me throwest,
Who else, as thou, were dark.
With body ever clothing me,
Thou mak’st me child of light;
I look, and, Lo, the earth and sea,
The sky’s rejoicing height,
A woven glory, globed by thee,
Unknowing of thy might!
And when thy darkling labours fail,
And thy shuttle moveless lies,
My world will drop, like untied veil
From before a lady’s eyes;
Or, all night read, a finished tale
That in the morning dies.
Yet not in vain dost thou unroll
The stars, the world, the seas–
A mighty, wonder-painted scroll
Of Patmos mysteries,
Thou mediator ‘twixt my soul
And higher things than these!
Thy holy ephod bound on me,
I pass into a seer;
For still in things thou mak’st me see,
The unseen grows more clear;
Still their indwelling Deity
Speaks plainer in mine ear.
Divinely taught the craftsman is
Who waketh wonderings;
Whose web, the nursing chrysalis
Round Psyche’s folded wings,
To them transfers the loveliness
Of its inwoven things.
Yet joy when thou shalt cease to beat!–
For a greater heart beats on,
Whose better texture follows fleet
On thy last thread outrun,
With a seamless-woven garment, meet
To clothe a death-born son.