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We are borne into life-it is sweet, it is strange.
We lie still on the knee of a mild Mystery,
Which smiles with a change ;
But we doubt not of changes, we know not of spaces,
The Heavens seem as near as our own mother's face is,
And we think we could touch all the stars that we see;
And the milk of our mother is white on our mouth;
And with small childish hands, we are turning around
The apple of Life which another has found;
It is warm with our touch, not with sun of the south,
And we count, as we turn it, the red side for four.
O Life, O Beyond,
Thou art sweet, thou art strange evermore!
Then all things look strange in the pure golden æther:
We walk through the gardens with hands linked together,
And the lilies look large as the trees :
And as loud as the birds sing the bloom-loving bees,
And the birds sing like angels, so mystical-fine,
And the cedars are brushing the archangels' feet,
And time is eternity, love is divine,
And the world is complete.
Now, God bless the child,-father, mother, respond !
O Life, O Beyond,
Thou art strange, thou art sweet.
Then we leap on the earth with the armour of youth,
And the earth rings again; And we breathe out, O beauty!—we cry out, 0 truth! And the bloom of our lips drops with wine, And our blood runs amazed 'neath the calm hyaline, The earth cleaves to the foot, the sun burns to the brain;
And the winds and the waters in pastoral measures
Go winding around us, with roll upon roll,
Till the soul lies within in a circle of pleasures
· Which hideth the soul.
And we run with the stag, and we leap with the horse,
And we swim with the fish thro' the broad water-course,
And we strike with the falcon and hunt with the hound,
And the joy that is in us, flies out by a wound.
And we shout so aloud, “We exult, we rejoice,'
That we lose the low moan of our brothers around.
And we shout so adeep down creation's profound,
We are deaf to God's voice.
And we bind the rose-garland on forehead and ears
Yet we are not ashamed,
And the dew of the roses that runneth unblamed
Down our cheeks, is not taken for tears.
Help us, God, trust us, man, love us, woman! 'I hold
Thy small head in my hands,—with its grapelets of gold
Growing bright thro' my fingers,—like altar for oath,
’Neath the vast golden spaces like witnessing faces
That watch the eternity strong in the troth-
I love thee, I leave thee,
Live for thee, die for thee!
I prove thee, deceive thee,
Undo evermore thee!
Help me, God ! slay me, man!-one is mourning for both.'
And we stand up tho' young near the funeral-sheet
Which covers old Cæsar and old Pharamond,
And death is so nigh us, life cools from its heat.
O Life, O beyond,
Art thou fair-art thou sweet?
Help me, God—help me, man! I am low, I am weak-
Death loosens my sinews and creeps in my veins.
My body is cleft by these wedges of pains
From my spirit's serene,
And I feel the externe and insensate creep in
On my organized clay.
I sob not, nor shriek, yet I faint fast away!
I am strong in the spirit,-deep-thoughted, clear-eyed,
I could walk, step for step, with an angel beside,
On the heaven-heights of truth., ..
: 0, the soul keeps its youth!
But the body faints sore, it is tired in the race,
It sinks from the chariot ere reaching the goal,
It is weak, it is cold,
The rein drops from its hold-
It sinks back with the death in its face.
On chariot-on, soul,
Ye are all the more fleet-
Be alone at the goal
Of the strange and the sweet!
Love us, God, love us, man! we believe, we achieve
Let us love, let us live,
For the acts correspond;
We are glorious—and Die!
And again on the knee of a mild Mystery
That smiles with a change,
Here we lie.
O death, O beyond,
Thou art sweet, thou art strange!
Does the road wind up-hill all the way;
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.
But is there for the night a resting-place;
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin. · May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.
Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.
Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak ?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.
Sow with a generous hand;
Pause not for toil or pain;
Weary not thro' the heat of summer,
Weary not thro’ the cold spring rain;
But wait till the autnmn comes
For the sheaves of golden grain.
Scatter the seed, and fear not,
A table will be spread;
What matter if you are too weary
To eat your hard-earned bread.
Sow, while the earth is broken,
For the hungry must be fed. Sow ;-while the seeds are lying
In the warm earth's bosom deep, And your warm tears fall upon it
They will stir in their quiet sleep; And the green blades rise the quicker,
Perchance, for the tears you weep.
Then sow; for the hours are fleeting,
And the seed must fall to-day;
And care not what hands shall reap it,
Or if you shall have passed away
Before the waving corn-fields
Shall gladden the sunny day. Sow; and look onward, upward,
Where the starry light appears—
Where in spite of the coward's doubting,
Or your own heart's trembling fears,
You shall reap in joy the harvest
You have sown to-day in tears.