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Ye clouds that gorgeously repose
Around the setting sun,
Answer! have ye a home for those
Whose earthly race is run ?
The bright clouds answered: “We depart,
We vanish from the sky;
Ask what is deathless in thy heart
For that which cannot die.”
Speak then, thou voice of God within,
Thou of the deep, low tone !
Answer me, through life's restless din
Where is the spirit flown ?
And the voice answered: “Be thou still !
Enough to know is given:
Clouds, winds, and stars their part fulfil
Thine is to trust in Heaven.”
What shall I do with all the days and hours
That must be counted ere I see thy face? How shall I charm the interval that lowers
Between this time and that sweet time of grace ?
I'll tell thee : for thy sake, I will lay hold
Of all good aims, and consecrate to thee, In worthy deeds, each moment that is told
While thou, beloved one, art far from me.
For thee, I will arouse my thoughts to try
All heavenward flights, all high and holy strains ; For thy dear sake, I will walk patiently
Through these long hours, nor call their minutes pains. I will this weary blank of absence make
A noble task-time, and will therein strive To follow excellence, and to o'ertake
More good than I have won since yet I live.
Into the Silent Land !
To you, ye boundless regions
Of all perfection! Tender morning visions
Of beauteous souls! The Future's pledge and band !
Who in life's battle firm doth stand,
Shall bear Hope's tender blossoms
Into the Silent Land !
O Land! ( Land !
For all the broken-hearted
The mildest herald by our fate allotted,
Beckons, and with inverted torch doth stand
To lead us with a gentle hand
To the land of the great Departed,
Into the Silent Land !
From the German of Salis.
What may we take into the vast Forever ?
That marble door
Admits no fruit of all our long endeavor,
No fame-wreathed crown we wore,
No garnered lore.
What can we bear beyond the unknown portal ?
No gold, no gains
Of all our toiling : in the life immortal
No hoarded wealth remains,
Nor gilds, nor stains.
Naked from out that far abyss behind us
We entered here:
No word came with our coming, to remind us
What wondrous world was near,
No hope, no fear.
Into the silent, starless night before us,
Naked we glide :
No hand has mapped the constellations o'er us,
No comrade at our side,
No chart, no guide.
Yet fearless toward the midnight black and hollow,
Our footsteps fare:
The beckoning of a Father's hand we follow
His love alone is there,
No curse, no care.
E. R. Sill.
From the German of Leopold Schefer
All that God wounds he constantly is healing,
Quietly, gently, softly, but most surely ;
He helps the lowliest herb, with wounded stalk,
To rise again.
Deep in the treasure-house of wealthy Nature,
A ready instinct works and moves
To clothe the naked sparrow in the nest,
Or trim the plumage of an aged raven;
Yes, in the slow decaying of a rose,
God works as well as in the unfolding bud;
He works with gentleness unspeakable
In Death itself; a thousand times more careful
Than even the mother by her sick child watching.
Oh may I join the choir invisible
Of those immortal dead who live again
In minds made better by their presence; live
In pulses stirred to generosity,
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn
Of miserable aims that end in self,
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars,
And with their mild persistence urge men's minds
To vaster issues.
So to live is heaven:
To make undying music in the world,
Breathing as beauteous order, that controls
With growing sway the growing life of man.
This is life to come,
Which martyred men have made more glorious
For us who strive to follow. May I reach
That purest heaven; be to other souls
The cup of strength in some great agony;
Enkindle generous ardor; feed pure love;
Beget the smiles that have no cruelty;
Be the sweet presence of a good diffused,
And in diffusion ever more intense.
So shall I join the choir invisible,
Whose music is the gladness of the world.
Life! I know not what thou art,
But know that thou and I must part ;
And when, or how, or where we met,
I own to me's a secret yet.
Life! we've been long together,
Through pleasant and through cloudy weather ;
'Tis hard to part when friends are dear,-
Perhaps 't will cost a sigh, a tear;
Then steal away, give little warning,
Choose thine own time;
Say no Good Night, - but in some brighter clime
Bid me Good Morning.
Anna L. Barbauld.
Farewell! since nevermore for thee
The sun comes up our eastern skies,
Less bright henceforth shall sunshine be
To some fond hearts and saddened eye
There are, who for thy last, long sleep,
Shall sleep as sweetly nevermore;
Shall weep because thou canst not weep,
And grieve that all thy griefs are o'er.
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 attained,
And the barriers fall,
Though a battle 's to fight ere the guerdon be gained,
The reward of it all.
For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,
The black minute's at end,
And the element's 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, -
() thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,
And with God be the rest !
Wilt thou not ope thy heart to know
What rainbows teach, and sunsets show?
Verdict which accumulates
From lengthening scroll of human fates,
Voice of earth to earth returned,
Prayers of saints that inly burned, -
Saying, What is excellent,
As God lives, is permanent ;
Hearts are dust, hearts' loves remain;
Hearts' love will meet thee again.
Revere the Maker; fetch thine eye
Up to his style, and manners of the sky.