The night is holy and haunted,
Asleep in a vale of June.
Stillness and earth–smell mingle
With the beams’ unearthly boon.–
Yet a terror is fallen upon me
From the other side of the moon.

If it be Truth that’s hidden
Upon that other side,
Unseen, unguessed of any,
Waiting to be descried?…
Without shadow or footstep,
Goblins by me glide.

The mellow moon, entrancing
An English meadow here,
Silvers the old farm roofs below
And dewy grasses near.
But the world her far side faces?
I think of it, and fear.

If not man’s ancient terror,
Bribed with long sacrifice,
If not old ignorance, whose hope
Would truth to itself entice–
If reason be the goblin
That thrills my blood to ice?

The bean–blossom is breathing
From fields in glimmer spread;
A rose hangs black on the amber air…
But I am lured and led
To an outer vast apartness
Beyond man’s hope or dread.

I look down upon me and mine
As with translated eyes,
My struggle in rapture and anguish
But noted like a fly’s,
My world at stake, my heaven and hell
Small as a beetle’s prize.

Busy in deep–sea dungeons,
Great mouths of fishes blind;
Blind wheel of planet on planet
In gulfs no thought can find;
The proud black stare of a falcon,
Without a thought behind,

Possess me, dispossess me:
They mock me not, they are.
The worlds are all a web that’s hung
Beyond conception far,
That a gorged and hairy spider
Spins in the central star.

Ferocity of begetting;
Prowling hunger’s maw,
Fury of teeth and hot–spilt blood,
Cold pounce and tearing claw,
Laughterless lust, the swarm and spawn
That one another gnaw;

A race to death, a frenzy
Rushing into the night,
A rage of life, a riot,
Seen in a moment’s light,
And Death the wild pursuer
Close on that fever–flight!

I see it all in vision,
I see with murdered sense
Of neither good nor evil,
Nor make a fool’s pretence.
I share, I too, that hunted
And horrible innocence.

Cruelty’s matched with courage.
Not that a power should thrive
Which twists its poison–tendrils
In all that is alive;
Nor that with those fell doings
My fate be to connive;

Not this the ulterior terror
That has the goblin grin,
But that the ignorant stare of space
Be the end as the origin,–
This glorious palace of the mind
A cave that tumbles in,
And reason mocked by reason
Be all the goal to win.

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