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An Allegory – An Old Lesson In A New Dress
by [?]

“Here is a lantern, my little boy,”
Said a father to his child,
“And yonder’s a wood, a lonely wood,
Tangled, and rough, and wild;
And now, this night,–this very hour,
Though gloomy and dark it be,
By the single light of this lamp alone,
You must cross the wild to me!

“I’ll be on the farther side, my son,
So follow the path you see,
And at the end of this narrow way,
Awaiting you, I will be!”
Thus bidden, the child set out, but soon,
With the gloomy waste ahead,
Oppressed with terror and doubt he stopped,
Shaking with fear and dread.

“Father!–father!–I cannot see!–
The forest is thick and black,
I’m sure there is danger ahead of me,
Please, father, call me back!”
But the father’s voice through the gloomy wild,
In answering accents said,–
“Just keep in the light of your lamp, my child,
And don’t look too far ahead!”

Thus cheered, the child pressed trustingly on,
Though trembling much with fear,
For around, beyond, and overhead,
The forest was dark and drear,
And ever, to keep his courage up,
To himself he softly said,–
“He told me to keep in the light of my lamp,
And not look too far ahead!”

At length the other side was gained,
And lo, the father was there!
To welcome his child from the dreary wild,
Where darkness and danger were;
And, “why did you fear, my son?” he said,
“You had plenty of light, you see,
Though it lit but a step at a time, enough
To guide you safely to me!

“And besides, I was just ahead in the dark–
Though you did not see me at all–
To be sure that no evil or accident
Should my darling child befall;
Then remember, my son, in life’s darkest ways
The simple words that I said,–
‘Just keep in the light of your lamp, my child,
And not look too far ahead?'”