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For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled ; Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.
Truly shape and fashion these ;
Leave no yawning gaps between ; Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.
In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere.
Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen; Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean.
Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time, Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.
Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base; And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.
Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.
The large Newfoundland house-dog
Was standing by the door ;
Who would return no more.
They walked not under the lindens,
They played not in the hall;
Were hanging over all.,
The birds sang in the branches,
With sweet, familiar tone;
Will be heard in dreams alone!
And the boy that walked beside me,
He could not understand
I pressed his warm, soft hand!
‘AKE them, O Death! and bear away
Whatever thou canst call thine own! Thine image, stamped upon this clay,
Doth give thee that, but that alone!
Take them, O Grave! and let them lie
Folded upon thy narrow shelves, As garments by the soul laid by,
And precious only to ourselves !
Take them, O great Eternity!
Our little life is but a gust,
And trails its blossoms in the dust.
THE LADDER OF ST. AUGUSTINE.
THE LADDER OF ST. AUGUSTINE.
AINT AUGUSTINE! well hast thou said,
That of our vices we can frame
Beneath our feet each deed of shame!
All common things, each day's events,
That with the hour begin and end,
Are rounds by which we may ascend.
The low desire, the base design,
That makes another's virtues less;
And all occasions of excess;
The longing for ignoble things ;
The strife for triumph more than truth;
Irreverence for the dreams of youth;
All thoughts of ill; all evil deeds,
That have their root in thoughts of ill;
The action of the nobler will ;
All these must first be trampled down
Beneath our feet, if we would gain
The right of eminent domain.
We have not wings, we cannot soar;
But we have feet to scale and climb.
The cloudy summits of our time.
The mighty pyramids of stone
That wedge-like cleave the desert airs, When nearer seen, and better known,
Are but gigantic flights of stairs.
The distant mountains, that
uprear Their 'solid bastions to the skies, Are crossed by pathways, that appear
As we to higher levels rise.
The heights by great men reached and kept,
Were not attained by sudden flight, But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night. Standing on what too long we bore
With shoulders bent and downcast eyes, We may discern unseen before
A path to higher destinies.
Nor deem the irrevocable Past,
As wholly wasted, wholly vain, If, rising on its wrecks, at last
To something nobler we attain.
LL houses wherein men have lived and died
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sound upon the floors.
We meet them at the door-way, on the stair,
Along the passages they come and go, Impalpable impressions on the air,
A sense of something moving to and fro.