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“ From Thy distant throne in glory, flash upon my inward sight,
Fill the midnight of my spirit with the splendour of Thy light.
“ All Thine other gifts and blessings, common mercies, I disown;
Separated from my brothers, I would see Thy face alone.
“ Let them toil and pray together, let them win earth’s best reward,
This shall be my only glory — I alone have seen the Lord.
“I have watched and I have waited as one watcheth for the morn:
Still Thou hidest in the heavens, still Thou leavest me forlorn.
“Now I seek Thee in the desert, where the holy hermits dwell ;
There, beside the saint Serapion, I will find a lonely cell.
“There at last Thou wilt be gracious; there Thy presence, long-concealed,
In the solitude and silence to my heart shall stand revealed.
“ Thou shalt come, at morn or even, o’er the rolling waves of sand;
I shall see Thee close beside me, I shall touch Thy pierced hand.
“ Lo, Thy pilgrim kneels before Thee; bless my journey with a word ;
Tell me now that, if I follow, I shall find Thee, O my Lord ! ”
Felix listened: through the darkness, like the whispering of the wind,
Came a secret voice in answer: “ Seek aright, and thou shalt find."
Long and toilsome was his pathway through the heavy land of heat,
Egypt’s blazing sun above him, blistering sands beneath his feet.
Still he plodded slowly onward, step by step and mile by mile,
Till he reached the rugged mountain, beetling high above the Nile,
Where the birds of air assemble, once a year, their noisy flocks,
Then, departing, leave their sentinel perched among the barren rocks.
Far away, on wings of gladness, over land and sea they fly;
But the watcher on the summit lonely stands against the sky.
There the eremite Serapion in a cave had made his bed;
There the bands of wandering pilgrims sought his blessing, brought him bread.
Month by month, in deep seclusion, hidden in the rocky cleft,
Dwelt the hermit, fasting, praying ; once a year the cave he left.
On that day, one happy pilgrim, chosen out of all the land,
Won a special sign of favour from the holy hermit’s hand.
Underneath the narrow window, at the doorway closely sealed,
While the afterglow of sunset deepened round him, Felix kneeled.
“ Man of God, of men most holy -- thou whose gifts cannot be priced ! —
Grant me thy most precious guerdon; tell me how to find the Christ.”
Breathless, Felix bowed and listened, but no answering voice he heard ;
Darkness folded, dumb and deathlike, round the Mountain of the Bird.
Then he said, “ The saint is silent— he would teach my soul to wait;
I will tarry here in patience, like a beggar at his gate.”
So the companies of pilgrims, clambering up the rocky stair,
Found the lonely, voiceless stranger by the window, lost in prayer,
Never moving from his station, watching there without complaint, —
Soon they came to call him holy, fed him as they fed the saint.
Day by day he saw the sunrise flood the distant plain with gold,
While the River Nile beneath him, silvery coiling, seaward rolled.
Night by night he saw the planets range their glittering court on high,
Saw the moon, with regal motion, mount her throne and rule the sky.
Morn advanced and midnight fled, in visionary pomp attired ;
Never mom and never midnight brought the vision long-desired.