The Cloud Confines

by

Dante Gabriel Rossetti


The day is dark and the night

To him that would search their heart;

No lips of cloud that will part

Nor morning song in the light:

Only, gazing alone,

To him wild shadows are shone,

Deep under deep unknown

And height above unknown height.

Still we say as we go,—

"Strange to think by the way,

Whatever there is to know,

That shall we know one day."


The Past is over and fled;

Nam'd new, we name it the old;

Thereof some tale hath been told,

But no word comes from the dead;

Whether at all they be,

Or whether as bond or free,

Or whether they too were we,

Or by what spell they have sped.

Still we say as we go,—

"Strange to think by the way,

Whatever there is to know,

That shall we know one day."


What of the heart of hate

That beats in thy breast, O Time?—

Red strife from the furthest prime,

And anguish of fierce debate;

War that shatters her slain,

And peace that grinds them as grain,

And eyes fix'd ever in vain

On the pitiless eyes of Fate.

Still we say as we go,—

"Strange to think by the way,

Whatever there is to know,

That shall we know one day."


What of the heart of love

That bleeds in thy breast, O Man?—

Thy kisses snatch'd 'neath the ban

Of fangs that mock them above;

Thy bells prolong'd unto knells,

Thy hope that a breath dispels,

Thy bitter forlorn farewells

And the empty echoes thereof?

Still we say as we go,—

"Strange to think by the way,

Whatever there is to know,

That shall we know one day."


The sky leans dumb on the sea,

Aweary with all its wings;

And oh! the song the sea sings

Is dark everlastingly.

Our past is clean forgot,

Our present is and is not,

Our future's a seal'd seedplot,

And what betwixt them are we?—

We who say as we go,—

"Strange to think by the way,

Whatever there is to know,

That shall we know one day."



(1872)



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