When peevish flaws his soul have stirred
To fretful tears for crossed desires,
Obedient to his mother’s word
My child to banishment retires.
As disappears the moon, when wind
Heaps miles of mist her visage o’er,
So vanisheth his face behind
The cloud of his white pinafore.
I cannot then come near my child–
A gulf between of gainful loss;
He to the infinite exiled–
I waiting, for I cannot cross.
Ah then, what wonder, passing show,
The Isis-veil behind it brings–
Like that self-coffined creatures know,
Remembering legs, foreseeing wings!
Mysterious moment! When or how
Is the bewildering change begun?
Hid in far deeps the awful now
When turns his being to the sun!
A light goes up behind his eyes,
A still small voice behind his ears;
A listing wind about him sighs,
And lo the inner landscape clears!
Hid by that screen, a wondrous shine
Is gathering for a sweet surprise;
As Moses grew, in dark divine,
Too radiant for his people’s eyes.
For when the garment sinks again,
Outbeams a brow of heavenly wile,
Clear as a morning after rain,
And sunny with a perfect smile.
Oh, would that I the secret knew
Of hiding from my evil part,
And turning to the lovely true
The open windows of my heart!
Lord, in thy skirt, love’s tender gaol,
Hide thou my selfish heart’s disgrace;
Fill me with light, and then unveil
To friend and foe a friendly face.