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When I wage battle next,

What weapons to select, what armor to indue.

Youth ended, I shall try

My gain or loss thereby ;


Leave the fire-ashes, what survives is gold:

And I shall weigh the same,

Give life its praise or blame :

Young, all lay in dispute; I shall know, being old.


For note, when evening shuts,

A certain moment cuts

The deed off, calls the glory from the gray:

A whisper from the west

Shoots "Add this to the rest,

Take it and try its worth: here dies another day.”

So, still within this life,

Though lifted o'er its strife,


Let me discern, compare, pronounce at last,

"This rage was right i' the main,

That acquiescence vain:

The Future I may face now I have proved the Past."

For more is not reserved


To man, with soul just nerved

To act to-morrow what he learns to-day :

Here, work enough to watch

The Master work, and catch

Hints of the proper craft, tricks of the tool's true play.

As it was better, youth


Should strive, through acts uncouth,

Toward making, than repose on aught found made!
So, better, age, exempt

From strife, should know, than tempt

Further. Thou waitedst age: wait death nor be afraid!

Enough now, if the Right


And Good and Infinite

Be named here, as thou callest thy hand thine own,
With knowledge absolute,

Subject to no dispute

From fools that crowded youth, nor let thee feel alone.

Be there, for once and all,


Severed great minds from small,

Announced to each his station in the Past!

Was I, the world arraigned,

Were they, my soul disdained,

Right? Let age speak the truth and give us peace at last!

Now, who shall arbitrate?

Ten men love what I hate,


Shun what I follow, slight what I receive;

Ten, who in ears and eyes

Match me: we all surmise,

They, this thing, and I, that: whom shall my soul believe?

Not on the vulgar mass


Called "work," must sentence pass,

Things done, that took the eye and had the price;

O'er which, from level stand,

The low world laid its hand,

Found straightway to its mind, could value in a trice:


But all, the world's coarse thumb

And finger failed to plumb,

So passed in making up the main account;

All instincts immature,

All purposes unsure,

That weighed not as his work, yet swelled the man's amount:

Thoughts hardly to be packed

Into a narrow act,


Fancies that broke through language and escaped;

All I could never be,

All, men ignored in me,

This, I was worth to God, whose wheel the pitcher shaped.


Ay, note that Potter's wheel,

That metaphor! and feel

Why time spins fast, why passive lies our clay,

Thou, to whom fools propound,

When the wine makes its round,

"Since life fleets, all is change; the Past gone, seize to-day!"

Fool! All that is, at all,

Lasts ever, past recall;


Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure :

What entered into thee,

That was, is, and shall be:

Time's wheel runs back or stops: Potter and clay endure.


He fixed thee 'mid this dance

Of plastic circumstance,

This Present, thou, forsooth, wouldst fain arrest:
Machinery just meant

To give thy soul its bent,

Try thee and turn thee forth, sufficiently impressed.


What though the earlier grooves,

Which ran the laughing loves

Around thy base, no longer pause and press?

What though, about thy rim,

Scull-things in order grim

Grow out, in graver mood, obey the sterner stress?

Look not thou down but up!

To uses of a cup,


The festal board, lamp's flash and trumpet's peal,

The new wine's foaming flow,

The Master's lips aglow!

Thou, heaven's consummate cup, what needst thou with earth's wheel?


But I need, now as then,

Thee, God, who mouldest men ;

And since, not even while the whirl was worst,

Did I to the wheel of life

With shapes and colors rife,

Bound dizzily — mistake my end, to slake Thy thirst :


So, take and use Thy work:

Amend what flaws may lurk,

What strain o' the stuff, what warpings past the aim! My times be in Thy hand!

Perfect the cup as planned!

Let age approve of youth, and death complete the same!


[SUPPOSED of Pamphylax the Antiochene :
It is a parchment, of my rolls the fifth,
Hath three skins glued together, is all Greek,
And goeth from Epsilon down to Mu:
Lies second in the surnamed Chosen Chest,
Stained and conserved with juice of terebinth,
Covered with cloth of hair, and lettered Xi,
From Xanthus, my wife's uncle, now at peace:
Mu and Epsilon stand for my own name,
I may not write it, but I make a cross
To show I wait His coming, with the rest,
And leave off here: beginneth Pamphylax.]

I said, "If one should wet his lips with wine,
And slip the broadest plantain-leaf we find,
Or else the lappet of a linen robe,

Into the water-vessel, lay it right,

And cool his forehead just above the eyes,
The while a brother, kneeling either side,

Should chafe each hand and try to make it warm,
He is not so far gone but he might speak."

This did not happen in the outer cave,
Nor in the secret chamber of the rock,
Where, sixty days since the decree was out,
We had him, bedded on a camel-skin,
And waited for his dying all the while;
But in the midmost grotto: since noon's light
Reached there a little, and we would not lose
The last of what might happen on his face.

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I at the head, and Xanthus at the feet,
With Valens and the Boy, had lifted him,
And brought him from the chamber in the depths,
And laid him in the light where we might see:
For certain smiles began about his mouth,
And his lids moved, presageful of the end.

Beyond, and halfway up the mouth o' the cave,
The Bactrian convert, having his desire,
Kept watch, and made pretence to graze a goat
That gave us milk, on rags of various herb,
Plantain and quitch, the rocks' shade keeps alive:
So that if any thief or soldier passed,
(Because the persecution was aware,)
Yielding the goat up promptly with his life,
Such man might pass on, joyful at a prize,
Nor care to pry into the cool o' the cave.
Outside was all noon and the burning blue.

"Here is wine," answered Xanthus, - dropped a drop;
I stooped and placed the lap of cloth aright,
Then chafed his right hand, and the Boy his left:
But Valens had bethought him, and produced
And broke a ball of nard, and made perfume.
Only, he did
And smile a little, as a sleeper does

- not so much wake, as


If any dear one call him, touch his face-
And smiles and loves, but will not be disturbed.

Then Xanthus said a prayer, but still he slept:
It is the Xanthus that escaped to Rome,
Was burned, and could not write the chronicle.

Then the Boy sprang up from his knees, and ran,
Stung by the splendor of a sudden thought,
And fetched the seventh plate of graven lead
Out of the secret chamber, found a place,
Pressing with finger on the deeper dints,
And spoke, as 't were his mouth proclaiming first,
"I am the Resurrection and the Life."

Whereat he opened his eyes wide at once,
And sat up of himself, and looked at us;
And thenceforth nobody pronounced a word:
Only, outside, the Bactrian cried his cry
Like the lone desert-bird that wears the ruff,
As signal we were safe, from time to time.

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