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The Vision of the Tarn by John B. Tabb


Alone, in contemplation lost,
I stood upon a castled height,
Dark-beetling o'er a lurid tarn
That glassed the brow of night.

Between the icy flash of stars,
Above me sprinkled and beneath,
 The silence of the listening air
Was counterfeit of death.
No cloud upon the naked sky,
No ripple on the lake below;
But o'er the sluggish waters hung
A phosphorescent glow,
That suddenly, all quivering wan,
As smitten with the throes of birth,
Upheaving, vanished, to reveal
A phantom not of earth—
A lily wonderful as light,
Unfolded on the balmy deep,
And, cradled in its bosom, lay
A presence lost in sleep.
And tenderly a star remote
Shed holy lustre o'er the place
Where innocence and peace displayed
Such unimagined grace
That e'en the calm celestial orb,
Enamored of the dream below,
With tremulous emotion pale
Diffused a milder glow.
And I beheld, in mystery,
The secret of my vision fair—
That of a relic sprung the flower
That bore its image there.
And from the watchful star above—
The dwelling of a spirit fled—
That faithful sentinel of love
Its vacant shrine surveyed,
And knew, through all transition seen,
Its place and habitation dear,
Still waiting, in the throb of hope,
Its resurrection here.
Long had I gazed; but, lo! a cloud,
Down-sweeping as a bird of night,
O'erwhelmed me, and the phantasy
Was blotted from my sight.

John B. Tabb.