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    A Canticle

    by Herman Melville
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    Significant of the national exaltation of enthusiasm at the close of the War.

    O the precipice Titanic
    Of the congregated Fall,
    And the angle oceanic
    Where the deepening thunders call--
    And the Gorge so grim,
    And the firmamental rim!
    Multitudinously thronging
    The waters all converge,
    Then they sweep adown in sloping
    Solidity of surge.

    The Nation, in her impulse
    Mysterious as the Tide,
    In emotion like an ocean
    Moves in power, not in pride;
    And is deep in her devotion
    As Humanity is wide.

    Thou Lord of hosts victorious,
    The confluence Thou hast twined;
    By a wondrous way and glorious
    A passage Thou dost find--
    A passage Thou dost find:
    Hosanna to the Lord of hosts,
    The hosts of human kind.

    Stable in its baselessness
    When calm is in the air,
    The Iris half in tracelessness
    Hovers faintly fair.
    Fitfully assailing it
    A wind from heaven blows,
    Shivering and paling it
    To blankness of the snows;
    While, incessant in renewal,
    The Arch rekindled grows,
    Till again the gem and jewel
    Whirl in blinding overthrows--
    Till, prevailing and transcending,
    Lo, the Glory perfect there,
    And the contest finds an ending,
    For repose is in the air.

    But the foamy Deep unsounded,
    And the dim and dizzy ledge,
    And the booming roar rebounded,
    And the gull that skims the edge!
    The Giant of the Pool
    Heaves his forehead white as wool--
    Toward the Iris every climbing
    From the Cataracts that call--
    Irremovable vast arras
    Draping all the Wall.

    The Generations pouring
    From times of endless date,
    In their going, in their flowing
    Ever form the steadfast State;
    And Humanity is growing
    Toward the fullness of her fate.

    Thou Lord of hosts victorious,
    Fulfill the end designed;
    By a wondrous way and glorious
    A passage Thou dost find--
    A passage Thou dost find:
    Hosanna to the Lord of hosts,
    The hosts of human kind.
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