Poems and Prose Remains, Vol II

Shadow and Light

Arthur Hugh Clough

CEASE, empty Faith, the Spectrum saith,
    I was, and lo, have been;
I, God, am nought: a shade of thought,
    Which, but by darkness seen,
Upon the unknown yourselves have thrown,
    Placed it and light between.

At morning’s birth on darkened earth,
    And as the evening sinks,
Awfully vast abroad is cast
    The lengthened form that shrinks
And shuns the sight in midday light,
    And underneath you slinks.

From barren strands of wintry lands
    Across the seas of time,
Borne onward fast ye touch at last
    An equatorial clime;

In equatorial noon sublime
    At zenith stands the sun,
And lo, around, far, near, are found
    Yourselves, and Shadow none.

A moment! yea! but when the day
    At length was perfect day!
A moment! so! and light we know
    With dark exchanges aye,

Nor morn nor eve shall shadow leave
    Your sunny paths secure,
And in your sight that orb of light
    Shall humbler orbs obscure.

And yet withal, ’tis shadow all
    Whate’er your fancies dream,
And I (misdeemed) that was, that seemed,
    Am not, whate’er I seem.

Poems and Prose Remains vol II - Contents

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