Nemesis "Vicisti Galilaeo"

I

Above the fallen sculpture

Of the pantheon of the Past,

One haggard face looks heavenward

A challenge to the last.

Behold that levelling NEMESIS,

Who rears her balance still,

Scorning a Good that flowers

From roots of good and ill:

A Tonic from the mixture

Of mortal gall and balm!

A foam of their equation—

Fume of waste and compensation,

Which the Cup of trituration

Wreathes with victory and calm!

But oh, thou ruthless goddess,

With never-favoring eyes,

Is Heaven so poor that justice

Metes the bounty of the skies?

So poor that every blessing

Fills the debit of a cost!

That all process is returning,

And all gain is of the lost!

How shalt thou poise the courage

That covets all things hard?

How pay the love unmeasured

That could not brook reward?

How prompt self-loyal honor—

Supreme above desire,

That bids the strong die for the weak,

The martyr sing in fire?

Why do I droop in bower,

And sigh in sacred hall?

Why stifle under shelter,

Yet where through forest tall

The rime of hoary winter

In stinging spray resolves,

I sing to the northwind's fury,

And shout with the starving wolves?

Up through a hundred tumults

I won to fields of peace:

A veteran scarred and grizzled,

On furlough, or release.

I roam the heights of freedom,

And through the mists of death

I hail the thrones supernal

With bold and jovial breath.

What of thy priests confuting

Of fate, and form and law—

Of being and essence, and counterpoise

Of poles that drive and draw?

Ever a compensation—

Some pandering purchase still!

But the vehm of achieving reason

Is the all-patrician WILL!

II

Lo! where the world is quiet

That heeds not me, nor thee,

I watch while the healing planets

Refreshen the brackish sea;

My vision of hope and progress

Has passed with thin day-light,

And the SAME, in its ancient splendor,

Is new in the blooming night:

Then swathe thy locks with shadows,

And poppied wreaths entwine,

And steep in thy pagan nectar

The nightshade's 'trancing vine:

Yet a voice shall pierce thy stupor,

And thou shalt not forget:

"My locks, which the dews have laden,

With drops of the night are wet....

Take thought for no to-morrow!...

Let the dead bury their dead!..."

What boots it that Immanuel hath

Not where to lay His head!

III

Sorrow no more nor glory

Shall toss my even beam.

Rest, rest thy weary balance!

I am dreaming of the dream

Wherein neither pain nor pleasure—

Wherein neither toil nor treasure—

Wherein neither guess nor measure

May be, nor yet may seem,—

A dream of life Ideal,

That knows its own control,—

Whose ends are at the centre,

And whose balance is the whole.