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Earth’s Complines

BEFORE the feet of the dew
There came a call I knew,
    Luring me into the garden
Where the tall white lilies grew.

I stood in the dusk between
The companies of green,
    O’er whose aerial ranks
The lilies rose serene.

And the breathing air was stirred
By an unremembered word,
    Soft, incommunicable—
And wings not of a bird.

I heard the spent blooms sighing,
The expectant buds replying ;
    I felt the life of the leaves,
Ephemeral, yet undying.


                        By Charles G. D. Roberts 61

The spirits of earth were there
Thronging the shadowed air,
    Serving among the lilies
In an ecstasy of prayer.

Their speech I could not tell ;
But the sap in each green cell,
    And the pure initiate petals,
They knew that language well.

I felt the soul of the trees—
Of the white, eternal seas—
    Of the flickering bats and night-moths
And my own soul kin to these.

And a spell came out of space
From the light of its starry place,
    And I saw in the deep of my heart
The image of God’s face.

MLA citation:

Roberts, Charles G.D. “Earth’s Complines.” The Yellow Book, vol. 6, July 1895, pp. 60-61. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2020.