THE solemn wood had spread

Shadows around my head;

"Curtains they are," I said,

"Hung dim and still about the house of prayer."


Softly among the limbs,

Turning the leaves of hymns,

I heard the winds, and asked if God were there.

No voice replied, but while I listening stood,

Sweet peace made holy hushes in the wood.


With ruddy, open hand,

I saw the wild rose stand

Beside the green gate of the summer hills;

And pulling at her dress,

I cried, "Sweet hermitess,

Hast thou beheld Him who the dew distills?"


No voice replied, but while I listening bent,

Her gracious beauty made my heart content.

The moon in splendor shone;

"She walketh heaven alone,

And seeth all things," to myself I mused;

"Hast thou beheld Him, then,


Who hides Himself from men

In that great power through nature interfused?"

No speech made answer, and no sign appeared,

But in the silence I was soothed and cheered.

Waking one time, strange awe

Thrilling my soul, I saw


A kingly splendor round about the night;

Such cunning work the hand

Of spinner never planned,-

The finest wool may not be washed so white.

"Hast thou come out of heaven?" I asked; and lo!

The snow was all the answer of the snow.

Then my heart said, "Give o'er;

Question no more, no more!

The wind, the snow-storm, the wild hermit flower,

The Illuminated air,

The pleasure after prayer,

Proclaim the unoriginated Power!"


Alice Cary.