Beauty of Earth

by Arthur Walter Kramer (1890 - 1969)

Word count: 448
A sonnet sequence by Charles Hanson Towne

1. I have known loveliness [sung text checked 1 time]

I have known loveliness that broke my heart:
Pale aspens thro' an ev'ning wet with rain;
A dusty road whereon the rattling wain
Went creaking homeward from some crowded mart--
A road that wandered like a thing apart,
And made me dream of lost youth once again. 
And what of roses with their crimson stain
Against a wall that crumbled from the start?

I drink all wonder avidly, lest I
Be absent from this world within a day.
I scarcely dare to sleep, or turn away,
Fearing that Death may whisper, "Say good-bye
To this bright scene, and follow me!"
Oh, why is Life so brief? Why can we not delay?

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Garrett Medlock [Guest Editor]

2. Yet the days pass [sung text checked 1 time]

Yet the days pass like frightened ghosts. We too
Pass in a twinkling through this world of glory.
Beauty remains; but we are transitory.
Ten thousand years from now will fall the dew,
And high in heaven still hang that arch of blue;
The rose will still repeat its perfect story,
And after generations dim and hoary,
The world will be a garden, clean and new.

Do we come back to haunt the best-loved places?
Are we the wind that murmurs in the pines?
Or does a Power that to the dust consigns
Our bodies, give us back fresh forms and faces,
And bid us be like actors with new lines,
To ponder on earth's beauty and earth's graces?

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Garrett Medlock [Guest Editor]

3. In the deep hush of a star-jeweled night [sung text checked 1 time]

In the deep hush of a star-jeweled night
I looked upon the pale face of the moon.
Far, far away I heard a lonely loon
Wailing its heart out, like a soul in fright.
How white the world was, bathed in that clean light,
As though it were a ghostly afternoon!
Niagaras of wonder poured their boon
And blessing on the earth in quiet might.

How can this repetition of an old
And deathless miracle be ever new?
Here was a story that night often told,
As morning tells the story of the dew.
And then I thought of Helen's hair of gold,
That never wearies us the long years through!

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Garrett Medlock [Guest Editor]

4. Clouds [sung text checked 1 time]

They gather in the morning and at noon,
Soft, billowy masses high above my head,
Like argosies with thrilling sails outspread,
Bound for a port beyond the sun and moon.
They never anchor in the blue lagoon
Of heaven, but move their fragile keels instead,
Faring to regions where the happy dead
Await their cargoes, bright with bliss of June.

Some clean, white morning I shall thus abide
Upon the wharves that touch Eternity,
Watching those sails on Time's unending tide,
Waiting those dream-ships on the blowing sea.
And one I love on that last ship may ride,
And I shall hail her, coming home to me.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Garrett Medlock [Guest Editor]