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The heart which, like a staff, was one For mine to lean and rest upon, The strongest on the longest day With steadfast love, is caught away — And yet my days go on, go on. And cold before my summer's done, And deaf in Nature's general tune, And fallen too low for special fear, And here, with hope no longer here While the tears drop, my days go on. The world goes whispering to its own, “ This anguish pierces to the bone.” And tender friends go sighing round, “What love can ever cure this wound ? " My days go on, my days go on. The past rolls forward on the sun And makes all night. O dreams begun, Not to be ended! Ended bliss ! And life, that will not end in this ! My days go on, my days go on. Breath freezes on my lips to moan; As one alone, once not alone, I sit and knock at Nature's door, Heart-bare, heart-hungry, very poor, Whose desolated days go on. I knock and cry . . . Undone, undone ! Is there no help, no comfort ... none ? No gleaning in the wide wheat-plains Where others drive their loaded wains ? My vacant days go on, go on. This Nature, though the snows be down, Thinks kindly of the bird of June. The little red hip on the tree Is ripe for such. What is for me, Whose days so winterly go on? No bird am I to sing in June, And dare not ask an equal boon. Good nests and berries red are Nature's To give away to better creatures. And yet my days go on, go on. I ask less kindness to be done — Only to loose these pilgrim-shoon (Too early worn and grimed) with sweet Cool deathly touch to these tired feet, Till days go out which now go on.
Only to lift the turf unmown
From off the earth where it has grown,
Some cubit-space, and say, “ Behold,
Creep in, poor Heart, beneath that fold,
Forgetting how the days go on.”
What harm would that do? Green anon
The sward would quicken, overshone
By skies as blue; and crickets might
Have leave to chirp there day and night,
While my new rest went on, went on.
From gracious Nature have I won
Such liberal bounty ? May I run
So, lizard-like, within her side,
And there be safe, who now am tried
By days that painfully go on?
- A Voice reproves me thereupon,
More sweet than Nature's, when the drone
Of bees is sweetest, and more deep
Than when the rivers overleap
The shuddering pines, and thunder on.
God's voice, not Nature's — night and noon
He sits upon the great white throne
And listens for the creature's praise.
What babble we of days and days?
The Dayspring He, whose days go on.
He reigns above, He reigns alone ;
Systems burn out, and leave His throne;
Fair mists of seraphs melt and fall
Around Him, changeless amid all :
Ancient of Days, whose days go on !
He reigns below, He reigns alone, –
And having life in love foregone
Beneath the crown of sovran thorns,
He reigns the jealous God. Who mourns
Or rules with Him, while days go on?
By anguish which made pale the sun,
I hear Him charge his saints that none
Among the creatures anywhere,
Blaspheme against Him with despair,
However darkly days go on.
- Take from my head the thorn-wreath brown!
No mortal grief deserves that crown.
O supreme Love, chief misery,
The sharp regalia are for Thee
Whose days eternally go on !
For us . . . whatever's undergone,
Thou knowest, willest what is done.
Grief may be joy misunderstood;
Only the Good discerns the good.
I trust Thee while my days go on.
Whatever's lost, it first was won ;
We will not struggle nor impugn.
Perhaps the cup was broken here
That Heaven's new wine might show more clear.
I praise Thee while my days go on!
I praise Thee while my days go on;
I love Thee while my days go on !
Through dark and dearth, through fire and frost,
With emptied arms and treasures lost,
I thank Thee while my days go on!
And having in thy life-depth thrown
Being and suffering (which are one),
As a child drops some pebble small
Down some deep well and hears it fall,
Smiling, ... I! THY DAYS GO ON.
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING,
Is NATURE weak? Do her enchantments fail?
Almighty is the word. Let God prevail.
Art thou impatient of thy time's disaster?
And dost thou dread a failing land's distress?
And are thy hopes that blazed, dissolving faster
Than fire-swept grasses in the wilderness ?
Say, hath thy Reason like a thief waylaid thee,
And in Faith's robbery left thee poor indeed?
Say, hath thy heart, a treacherous wife, betrayed thee?
Say, do thy murdered hopes, thy children, bleed?
And are they dying — aye, and dead, and cast
To the deep vaults? Say, dost thou glower aghast
At ruin, ruin, ruin, thrice deserted,
Friends lost, faith lost, and all that faith supplies,
While hope turns from thee, and with eyes averted
Thy better genius warns but once, and flies?
Say, art thou but a corpse beneath the skin,
While to their ashes burn the fires within ?
Thou, brother, thou, a lightning-splintered globe,
A thunder-scarred, fire-devastated isle,
Whom death and hate would momently disrobe,
A kindred genius, with mild, asking smile,
For thee would summon kinsmen far away
In the Sun's ruby chamber, “ Lo !” they say,
“Hear what the Word, with voice apocalyptic,
Reveals in power omnipotently sweet ;
Gather the hopes that star its vast ecliptic;
With Nature haste to her dear Master's feet. Art thou a Winter ? thou a Spring shalt bloom, And smile an Eden, thou who wert a tomb.'
BLESSED ARE THEY THAT MOURN
Oh, deem not they are blest alone
Whose lives a peaceful tenor keep;
The Power who pities man has shown
A blessing for the eyes that weep.
The light of smiles shall fill again
The lids that overflow with tears ;
And weary hours of woe and pain
Are promises of happier years.
There is a day of sunny rest
For every dark and troubled night ;
And grief may bide an evening guest,
But joy shall come with early light.
And thou who, o'er thy friend's low bier,
Sheddest the bitter drops like rain;
Hope that a brighter, happier sphere
Will give him to thy arms again.
Nor let the good man's trust depart,
Though life its common gifts deny, -
Though with a pierced and bleeding heart,
And spurned of men, he goes to die.
For God hath marked each sorrowing day
And numbered every secret tear,
And heaven's long age of bliss shall pay
For all his children suffer here.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
THE MASTER'S TOUCH In the still air the music lies unheard ;
In the rough marble beauty lies unseen : To make the music and the beauty, needs
The master's touch, the sculptor's chisel keen.
Great Master, touch us with thy skilful hand;
Let not the music that is in us die !
Great Sculptor, hew and polish us; nor let,
Hidden and lost, thy form within us lie !
Spare not the stroke ! do with us as thou wilt !
Let there be naught unfinished, broken, marred;
Complete thy purpose, that we may become
Thy perfect image, thou our God and Lord !
FEAR death?— to feel the fog in my throat,
The mist in my face,
When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
I am nearing the place,
The power of the night, the press of the storm,
The post of the foe;
Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form,
Yet the strong man must go :
For the journey is done and the summit attain'd,
And the barriers fall,
Though a battle 's to fight ere the guerdon be gain'd,
The reward of it all.
I was ever a fighter, so — one fight more,
The best and the last !
I would hate that death bandaged my eyes, and forebore,
And bade me creep past.
No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers
The heroes of old,
Bear the brunt in a minute pay glad life's arrears
Of pain, darkness, and cold.
For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,
The black minute's at end,
And the elements' rage, the fiend-voices that rave,
Shall dwindle, shall blend,
Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain,
Then a light, then thy breast,
O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,
And with God be the rest!
I HOLD STILL
PAIN's furnace-heat within me quivers,
God's breath upon the flame doth blow,
And all my heart within me shivers