Aisles leaf-carpeted, and columned
With the tall Corinthian pines,
Lifting to a dome of golden
Coronals of carving olden,
Wrought in wonderous designs.
Heaven's cathedral windows flashing
Sunset splendors opaline,
Silent, gem-like offertories,
Tessellating with strange glories
Long dim aisles of bronzèd green.
Thro' the cloistered sanctuary
Of this forest-temple stole
Whispers of a Voluntary
That spake strangely to my soul.
'Mid pine pillars all aglisten
In the gold and amethyst,
Knelt I reverently to listen
To the aged organist—
To the Wind—that old musician,
With the centuries in his heart,
And sublimer sweep of vision
Thro' wierd melodies Elysian
Than Beethoven or Mozart.
Neath his aged hands caressing
Trembled all the leafy keys,
As he breathed beyond our guessing
Something like a soul's best blessing,
Or a soul itself confessing
In Aeolian harmonies.
How the low sweet numbers pealing
Forth in whispers silence-soft,
Thrilled me as I heard them stealing
All surcharged with tenderest feeling
From the pine-top organ-loft!
Grayer grew the gold; the dying
Day's last smile was, trembling, caught
On the leaves, then, westward flying,
Left me in the gloaming, trying
To divine his master-thought.
Suddenly came shadows stealing
Like the forms of phantom nuns,
Long, grey veils of mist concealing
Their pale, prayerful faces, kneeling
At their Vesper orisons.
Grander, holier inspirations,
From the organ-tower dim,
Poured in tremulous vibrations;
Then I know that with the nation's
Rose his benediction hymn.
Knew a thousand altars glistened
Thro' a cloud of frankincense,
In the taper's starlight christened,
While archangels hid and listened
From the rose's redolence.
Silent, ghostly hands erected
A dream throne—ciborium,
Nature poured a praise perfected,
Each star flashing a reflected