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We strove, – and he was stronger,

And I have never wept.

Let him possess thy body,

Thy soul is still with me, More sunny and more gladsome

Than it was wont to be : Thy body was a fetter

That bound me to the flesh, Thank God that it is broken,

And now I live afresh !

Now I can see thee clearly;

The dusky cloud of clay, That hid thy starry spirit,

Is rent and blown away: To earth I give thy body,

Thy spirit to the sky, I saw its bright wings growing,

And knew that thou must fly. Now I can love thee truly,

For nothing comes between The senses and the spirit,

The seen and the unseen; Lifts the eternal shadow,

The silence bursts apart, And the soul's boundless future

Is present in my beart.

But the tuft of moss before him

Opened while he waited yet, And, from out the rock's hard bosom,

Sprang a tender violet. “God! I thank thee," said the

Prophet; 66

Hard of heart and blind was I, Looking to the holy mountain

For the gift of prophecy. “Still thou speakest with thy children

Freely as in eld sublime ; Humbleness, and love, and patience,

Still give empire over time. “Had I trusted in my nature,

And had faith in lowly things, Thou thyself wouldst then have sought

me, And set free my spirit's wings. “But I looked for signs and wonders,

That o'er men should give me sway; Thirsting to be more than mortal,

I was even less than clay. “ Ere I entered on my journey,

As I girt my loins to start, Ran to me my little daughter,

The beloved of my heart ;“ In her hand she held a flower,

Like to this as like may be, Which, beside my very threshold, She had plucked and brought to me."

1842.

A PARABLE.

A GLANCE BEHIND THE CUR

TAIN.

Worn and footsore was the Prophet,

When he gained the holy hill ; “God has left the earth,” he murmured,

“Here his presence lingers still. “God of all the olden prophets,

Wilt thou speak with men no more? Have I not as truly served thee

As thy chosen ones of yore? “Hear me, guider of my fathers,

Lo! a humble heart is mine; By thy mercy I beseech thee

Grant thy servant but a sign!
Bowing then his head, he listened

For an answer to his prayer ;
No loud burst of thunder followed,

Not a murmur stirred the air :

We see but half the causes of our deeds, Seeking them wholly in the outer life, And heedless of the encircling spirit

world, Which, though unseen, is felt, and

sows in us All germs of pure and world-wide pur

poses. From one stage of our being to the next We pass unconscious o'er a slender

bridge,

more

The momentary work of unseen hands, Which crumbles down behind us;

looking back, We see the other shore, the gulf be

tween, And, marvelling how we won to where

we stand, Content ourselves to call the builder

Chance, We trace the wisdom to the apple's fall, Not to the birth-throes of a mighty

Truth Which, for long ages in blank Chaos

dumb, Yet yearned to be incarnate, and had

found At last a spirit meet to be the womb From which it might be born to bless

mankind, Not to the soul of Newton, ripe with all The hoarded thoughtfulness of earnest

years, wind waiting but one ray of sunlight To blossom fully.

But whence came that ray? We call our sorrows Destiny, but ought Rather to name our high successes so. Only the instincts of greatsoulsare Fate, And have predestined sway: all other

things, Except by leave of us, could never be. For Destiny is but the breath of God Still moving in us, the last fragment left Of our unfallen nature, waking oft Within our thought, to beckon us be

yond The narrow circle of the seen and

known, And always tending to a noble end, As all things must that overrule the

soul, And for a space unseat the helmsman,

Will. The fate of England and of freedom Seemed wavering in the heart of one

plain man: One step of his, and the great dial

hand, That marks the destined progress of

the world in the eternal round from wisdom on

To higher wisdom, had been made to

pause A hundred years. That step he did

not take, He knew not why, nor we, but only

God, And lived to make his simple oaken

chair More terrible and grandly beautiful, More full of majesty than any throne, Before or after, of a British king. Upon the pier stood two stern-vis

aged men, Looking to where a little craft lay

moored, Swayed by the lazy current of the

Thames, Which weltered by in muddy listless

ness. Grave men they were, and battlings of

fierce thought Had trampled out all softness from

their brows, And ploughed rough furrows there be

fore their time, For other crop than such as homebred

Peace Sows broadcast in the willing soil of

Youth. Care, not of self, but of the common

weal, Had robbed their eyes of youth, and

left instead A look of patient power and iron will, And something fiercer, too, that gave

broad hint Of the plain weapons girded at their

sides. The younger had an aspect of com

mand, Not such as trickles down, a slender

stream, In the shrunk channel of a great descent, But such as lies entowered in heart and

head, And an arm prompt to do the 'hests of

both. His was a brow where gold were out

of place, And yet it seemed right worthy of a (Though he despised such), were it

only made

once

crown

Of iron, or some serviceable stuff
That would have matched his sinewy

brown face. The elder, although such he hardly

seemed (Care makes so little of some five short

years), Had a clear, honest face, whose rough

hewn strength Was mildened by the scholar's wiser

heart To sober courage, such as best befits The unsullied temper of a well-taught

mind, Yet so remained that one could plainly

guess The hushed volcano smouldering un

derneath. He spoke : the other, hearing, kept his

gaze Still fixed, as on some problem in the

sky. O CROMWELL, we are fallen on

evil times ! There was a day when England had

wide room For honest men as well as foolish kings ; But now the uneasy stomach of the

time Turns squeamish at them both. There

fore let us Seek out that savage clime, where men

as yet Are free : there sleeps the vessel on

the tide, Her languid canvas drooping for the

wind; Give us but that, and what need we to

fear This Order of the Council ? The free

waves Will not say, No, to please a wayward

king, Nor will the winds turn traitors at his

beck : All things are fitly cared for, and the

Lord Will watch as kindly o'er the exodus Uf us his servants now, as in old time. We have no cloud or fire, and haply May not pass dry-shod through the

Ocean-stream:

But, saved or lost, all things are in His

hand.” So spake he, and meantime the other

stood With wide gray eyes still reading the

blank air, As if upon the sky's blue wall he saw Some mystic sentence, written by a

hand, Such as of old made pale the Assyrian

king, Girt with his satraps in the blazing

feast. “HAMPDEN ! a moment since, my

purpose was To fly with thee, - for I will call it

flight, Nor flatter it with any smoother

name, But something in me bids me not to

go; And I am one, thou knowest, who, un

moved By what the weak deem omens, yet

give heed And reverence due to whatsoe'er my

soul Whispers of warning to the inner ear. Moreover, as I know that God brings

round His purposes in ways undreamed by

us, And makes the wicked but his instru

ments To hasten on their swift and sudden

fall, I see the beauty of his providence In the King's order : blind, he will not

let His doom part from him, but must bid

it stay

rather stay

As 't were a cricket, whose enlivening

chirp He loved to hear beneath nis very

hearth. Why should we fly? Nay, why not And rear again our Zion's crumbled

walls, Not, as of old the walls of Thebes were

built, By minstrel twanging, but, if need

should be,

we

the sea

With the more potent music of our

swords? Think'st thou that score of men beyond Claim more God's care than all of

England here? No: when he moves His arm, it is to

aid Whole peoples, heedless if a few be

crushed, As some are ever, when the destiny Of man takes one stride onward nearer

home. Believe it, 't is the mass of men He

loves; And, where there is most sorrow and

most want, Where the high heart of man is trodden

down The most, 't is not because He hides

his face From them in wrath, as purblind teach

ers prate : Not so: there most is He, for there is

He Most needed. Men who seek for Fate

abroad Are not so near His heart as they who

dare Frankly to face her where she faces

them, On their own threshold, where their

souls are strong To grapple with and throw her; as I

once, Being yet a boy, did cast this puny

king, Who now has grown so dotard as to

deem That he can wrestle with an angry

realm, And throw the brawned Antæus of

men's rights. No, Hampden! they have half-way

conquered Fate Who go half way to meet her,

will I. Freedom hath yet a work for me to do; So speaks that inward voice which

never yet Spake falsely, when it urged the spirit To noble deeds for country and man

kind.

And, for success, I ask no more than

this, To bear unflinching witness to the

truth. All true whole men succeed ; for what

is worth Success's name,

unless it be the thought, The inward surety, to have carried out A noble purpose to a noble end, Although it be the gallows or the block ? 'T is only Falsehood that loth ever

need These outward shows of gain to bolstet

her. Be it we prove the weaker with our

swords; Truth only needs to be for once spoke

out, And there 's such music in her, such

strange rhythm, As makes men's memories her joyous

slaves, And clings around the soul, as the sky

clings Round the mute earth, forever beauti.

ful, And, if o'erclouded, only to burst forth More all-embracingly divine and clear : Get but the truth once uttered, and 't is

like Astar new-born, that drops into its place, And which, once circling in its placid

round, Not all the tumult of the earth can shake. “What should we do in that small

colony Of pinched fanatics, who would rather

choose Freedom to clip an inch more from

their hair, Than the great chance of setting Eng

land free? Not there, amid the stormy wilderness, Should we learn wisdom ; or if learned,

what room To put it into act, - else worse than

naught? We learn our souls more, tossing for an

hour Upon this huge and ever-vexëd sea of human thought, where kingdoms ge

to wreck

-as

on

Like fragile bubbles yonder in the

stream, Than in a cycle of New England sloth, Broke only by some petty Indian war, Or quarrel for a letter more or less In some hard word, which, spelt in

either way, Not their most learnëd clerks can un

derstand. New times demand new measures and

new men ; The world adv ces, and in time out

grows The laws that in our fathers' day were

best; And, doubtless, after us, some purer

scheme Will be shaped out by wiser men than

we, Made wiser by the steady growth of

truth. We cannot bring Utopia by force : But better, almost, be at work in sin, Than in a brute inaction browse and

sleep. No man is born into the world, whose

work Is not born with him ; there is always

work, And tools to work withal, for those who

will; And blessëd are the horny hands of toil ! The busy world shoves angrily aside The man who stands with arms akimbo

set, Until occasion tells him what to do; And he who waits to have his task

marked out Shall die and leave his errand unful

filled. Our time is one that calls for earnest

deeds : Reason and Government, like two

broad seas, Yearn for each other with outstretchëd

arms Across this narrow isthmus of the throne, And roll their white surf higher every

day. One age moves onward, and the next Cities and gorgeous palaces, where stood The rude log huts of those who tamed

the wild,

Rearing from out the forests they nad

felled The goodly framework of a fairer state; The builder's trowel and the settler's axe Are seldom wielded by the selfsame

hand; Ours is the harder task, yet not the less Shall we receive the blessing for our toil From the choice spirits of the aftertime. My soul is not a palace of the past, Where outworn creeds, like Rome's

gray se ate, quake, Hearing afar the Vandal's trumpet

hoarse, That shakes old systems with a thunder

fit. The time is ripe, and rotten-ripe, for

change ; Then let it come: I have no dread of

what Is called for by the instinct of mankind; Nor think I that God's world will fall

apart Because we tear a parchment more or

less, Truth is eternal, but her effluence, With endless change is fitted to the

hour; Her mirror is turned forward to reflect The promise of the future, not the past. He who would win the name of truly

great Must understand his own age and the

next, And make the present ready to find Its prophecy, and with the future merge Gently and peacefully, as wave with The future works out great men's des

tinies ; The present is enough for common souls, Who, never looking forward, are indeed Mere clay, wherein the footprints of Are petrified forever : better those Who lead the blind old giant by the hand From out the pathless desert where he

gropes, And set him onward in his darksome

way. I do not fear to follow out the truth, Albeit along the precipice's edge. Let us speak plain : there is more force

in names

wave.

their age

builds up

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