“The Land of the Blest” by James Gates Percival

by Ann Neilson

The Land of the Blest.
By James Gates Percival
From Poems by James Gates Percival, pp. 368-370.

THE sunset is calm on the face of the deep,
And bright is the last look of day in the west,
And broadly the beams of its parting glance sweep,
Like the path that conducts to the land of the blest:
All golden and green is the sea, as it flows
In billows just heaving its tide to the shore;
And crimson and blue is the sky, as it glows
With the colors which tell us that daylight is o’er.

I sit on a rock that hangs over the wave,
And the foam heaves and tosses its snow-wreaths below,
And the flakes, gilt with sunbeams, the flowing tide pave,
Like the gems that in gardens of sorcery grow:
I sit on the rock, and I watch the light fade
Still fainter and fainter away in the west,
And I dream I can catch, through the mantle of shade,
A glimpse of the dim, distant land of the blest.

And I long for home in that land of the soul,
Where hearts always warm glow with friendship and love,
And days ever cloudless still cheerily roll,
Like the age of eternity blazing above:
There, with friendships unbroken, and loves ever true,
Life flows on, one gay dream of pleasure and rest;
And green is the fresh turf, the sky purely blue,
That mantle and arch o’er the land of the blest.

The last line of light is now crossing the sea,
And the first star is lighting its lamp in the sky;
It seems that a sweet voice is calling to me,
Like a bird on that pathway of brightness to fly:
“Far over the wave is a green sunny isle,
Where the last cloud of evening now shines in the west;
‘Tis the island that Spring ever woos with her smile;
O, seek it,—the bright, happy land of the blest!”