Page images
[blocks in formation]


[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

He hides them deep, like the secret sleep

Of him he loved so well.



MOSES, who spake with God as with his friend,

And ruled his people with the twofold power

Of wisdom that can dare and still be meek,

Was writing his last word, the sacred


Unutterable of that Eternal Will Which was and is and evermore shall be.

Yet was his task not finished, for the flock

Needed its shepherd, and the life-taught sage

Leaves no successor; but to chosen


The rescuers and guides of Israel,
A death was given called the Death of

Which freed them from the burden of the flesh,

But left them rulers of the multitude And loved companions of the lonely. This

Was God's last gift to Moses, this the hour

When soul must part from self and be but soul.

God spake to Gabriel, the messenger Of mildest death that draws the parting life

Gently, as when a little rosy child Lifts up its lips from off the bowl of milk

And so draws forth a curl that dipped its gold

In the soft white-thus Gabriel draws the soul.

"Go, bring the soul of Moses unto Me!" And the awe-stricken angel answered, "Lord,

How shall I dare to take his life who lives

Sole of his kind, not to be likened once In all the generations of the earth?"

Then God called Michael, him of pensive brow, Snow-vest and flaming sword, who knows and acts:

"Go, bring the spirit of Moses unto Me!"

But Michael, with such grief as angels feel,

Loving the mortals whom they succor, plead:

"Almighty, spare me; it was I who taught

Thy servant Moses; he is part of me As I of Thy deep secrets, knowing them."

Then God called Zamael, the terrible, The angel of fierce death, of agony That comes in battle and in pestilence Remorseless, sudden or with lingering throes,

And Zamael, his raiment and broad wings

Blood-tinctured, the dark lustre of his eyes

Shrouding the red, fell like the gathering night

Before the prophet. But that radiance Won from the heavenly presence in the


Gleamed on the prophet's brow, and dazzling pierced

Its conscious opposite: the angel turned His murky gaze aloof and inly said:

"An angel this, deathless to angel's stroke."

But Moses felt the subtly nearing dark:-

"Who art thou? and what wilt thou?" Zamael then :

"I am God's reaper; through the fields of life

I gather ripened and unripened souls, Both willing and unwilling. And I come Now to reap thee." But Moses cried Firm as a seer who waits the trusted sign:

"Reap thou the fruitless plant and common herb

Not him who from the womb was sanctified

To teach the law of purity and love." And Zamael baffled from his errand fled. But Moses, pausing, in the air serene Heard now that mystic whisper, far yet


The all-penetrating Voice, that said to him,

"Moses, the hour is come and thou must die."

"Lord, I obey; but Thou rememberest How Thou, Ineffable, didst take me


Within Thy orb of light untouched by death."

Then the Voice answered, "Be no more afraid:

With Me shall be thy death and burial.” So Moses waited, ready now to die.

And the Lord came, invisible as a thought.

Three angels gleaming on His secret track,

Prince Michael, Zamael, Gabriel, charged to guard

The soul-forsaken body as it fell,
And bear it to the hidden sepulchre
Denied forever to the search of man.
And the Voice said to Moses: "Close
thine eyes."

He closed them. "Lay thine hand upon thine heart,

And draw thy feet together." He obeyed.

And the Lord said, "O spirit! child of Mine!

A hundred years and twenty thou hast dwelt

Within this tabernacle wrought of clay. This is the end: come forth and flee to heaven."

But the grieved soul with plaintive pleading cried,

"I love this body with a clinging love: The courage fails me, Lord, to part from it."

"O child, come forth, for thou shalt dwell with Me

About the immortal throne where seraphs joy

In growing vision and in growing love."

Yet hesitating, fluttering, like the bird With young wing weak and dubious, the soul

Stayed. But behold! upon the deathdewed lips

A kiss descended, pure, unspeakableThe bodiless Love, without embracing Love

[blocks in formation]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »