And must I deem you mortal as my kind,
O solemn stars, that to man’s doubtful mind
So long have seemed, ‘mid the world’s fallen kings
And glories gone, the sole eternal things;
To perishable flesh and mouldering dust
Heaven’s symbols fixt, triumphant and august?
Do ye too suffer change, ye too decay,
Waxing and waning like an earthly day?
So must I deem: yet not with such a light
Shine ye, on this serene September night!
No, nor as alien splendours, worlds not ours,
In perfect order marshalled, mighty Powers,
Beneath whose peace we darkly do and dream:
Not now so vast, not so remote ye seem.
But, it may be some rising human tear
That dims my eyes and draws your radiance near,
Sweet tokens of the lands ye look upon,
Faces upturned like mine, unknown yet known,
Of musing friends and lovers, ye appear!
Pulses of Heaven, whose beating mirrors forth
The beating of the unnumbered hearts of earth!
Eyes, that in love watch over weary men!
Once more I lift my gaze to you, as then
In childhood, when you seemed but lovely lights,
The glorious visitants of cloudless nights;
And, as I gaze, I feel renewed the joy
Ignorance felt, nor knowledge can destroy.

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