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I gave thee of my seed to sow,
Bringest thou me my hundred-fold ? ” Can I look up with face aglow,
And answer, “Father, here is gold ?” I have been innocent; God knows
When first this wasted life began, Not
grape more kindly grows, Than I with every brother-man: Now ere I gasp; what se my kind,
When this fast-ebbing breath shall part ? What bands of love and service bind
This being to the world's sad heart?
Christ still was wandering o'er the earth
Without a place to lay his head; He found free welcome at my hearth, He shared my cup and broke
bread: Now, when I hear those steps sublime,
That bring the other world to this, My snake-turned nature, sunk in slime,
Starts sideway with defiant hiss.
Upon the hour when I was born,
God said, “ Another man shall be,”
Out of himself to fashion me;
And Heaven's rich instincts in me grew, As effortless as woodland nooks
Send violets up and paint them blue. Yes, I who now, with angry tears,
Am exiled back to brutish clod, Have borne unquenched for fourscore years
A spark of the eternal God;
And to what end? How yield I back
The trust for such high uses given ? Heaven's light hath but revealed a track
Whereby to crawl away from heaven.
Men think it is an awful sight
To see a soul just set adrift
The ominous shadows never lift;
A helpless infant newly born, Whose little hands unconscious hold
The keys of darkness and of morn.
Mine held them once ; I flung away
Those keys that might have open set The golden sluices of the day,
But clutch the keys of darkness yet ;I hear the reapers singing go
Into God's harvest; I, that might With them have chosen, here below
Grope shuddering at the gates of night.
O glorious Youth, that once wast mine!
O high Ideal! all in vain Ye enter at this ruined shrine
Whence worship ne'er shall rise again , The bat and owl inbabit here,
The snake nests in the altar-stone, The sacred vessels moulder near,
The image of the God is gone.
WHAT gnarled stretch, what depth of shade, is his !
There needs no crown to mark the forest's king; How in his leaves outshines full summer's bliss !
Sun, storm, rain, dew, to him their tribute bring, Which he with such benignant royalty
Accepts, as overpayeth what is lent ; All nature seems his vassal proud to be,
And cunning only for his ornament.
How towers he, too, amid the billowed snows,
An unquelled exile from the summer's throne, Whose plain, uncinctured front more kingly shows,
Now that the obscuring courtier leaves are flown. His boughs make music of the winter air,
Jewelled with sleet, like some cathedral front Where clinging snow-flakes with quaint art repair
The dints and furrows of time's en vious brunt.
How doth his patient strength the rude March
wind Persuade to seem glad breaths of summer breeze, And win the soil that fain would be unkind,
To swell his revenues with proud increase ! He is the gem; and all the landscape wide
(So doth his grandeur isolate the sense) Seems but the setting, worthless all beside,
An empty socket, were he fallen thence.
So, from oft converse with life's wintry gales, Should man learn how to clasp with tougher
roots The inspiring earth ;-how otherwise avails
The leaf-creating sap that sunward shoots ? So every year that falls with noiseless flake
Should fill old scars up on the stormward side, And make hoar age revered for age's sake,
Not for traditions of youth's leafy pride. So, from the pinched soil of a churlish fate,
True hearts compel the sap of sturdier growtlı, So between earth and heaven stand simply great,
That these shall seem but their attendants both; For nature's forces with obedient zeal
Wait on the rooted faith and oaken will; As quickly the pretender's cheat they feel,
And turn mad Pucks to flout and mock him still.
Lord ! all thy works are lessons —each contains
Some emblem of man's all-containing soul; Shall be make fruitless all thy glorious pains,
Delving within thy grace an eyeless mole? Make me the least of thy Dodona-grove,
Cause me some message of thy truth to bring, Speak but a word through me, nor let thy love Among my boughs disdain to perch and sing.
NEVER, surely, was holier man
Through earnest prayer and watchings long
At last he builded a perfect faith,
Then Ambrose said, “ All those shall die
One day, as Ambrose was seeking the truth