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By And By
by [?]


God will not let His bright gifts die
If I may not sing my songs just now
I shall sing them by and by

A young man with a Poet’s soul,
And a Poet’s kindling eye–
Dark, dreamy, full of unvoiced thought–
And forehead calm and high,
Toiled wearily at his heavy task
Till his soul grew sick with pain,
And the pent up fires that burned within
Seemed withering heart and brain

“Work, work, work!” he murmured low,
Glancing up at the golden west–
Work, with the sunset heavens aglow
By the hands of angels dressed,
Work for this perishing, human clay,
While the soul, like a prisoned bird,
Flutters its helpless wings always
By passionate longings stirred

“I hear in the wandering zephyr’s song
Tones that no others hear,
And alien melodies all day long
Are murmuring in my ear,–
Phantoms of beauty in cloud and flower
Haunt me where’er I stray,
And flit thro’ the green of the summer bower,
At the close of each toil spent day

“There are voices that sigh in the wind’s low sigh,
Or wail in the tempest’s roar,–
That sing in the brooklets that wander by,
Or sob along ocean’s shore;–
I hear them ever, yet may not stay,
To list to the rhythmic strain;
And the unvoiced melodies die away,
Never to come again.

“Something I see in the lightning’s flash
That my fellows may not see,
And something hear in the thunder’s crash,
That cometh alone to me;–
But the glory fades ere I gather it in,
And fix it in brain or heart;
And the strains I caught thro’ the elements’ din,
Are lost in Toil’s crowded mart.

“O haunting strains of unuttered song!
O tenderest melodies lost!
O sweet, stray notes of the heavenly throng
On the wing of the tempest tossed!
O spirit-harp that, untouched, untuned,
To each subtle influence thrills,
As thrills some wild, Aeolian harp,
To the breezes that sweep the hills!–

“I thirst, I pant, to be free to list
To the voices that call to me,
From flood and fountain, from vale and height,
From forest, and shore, and sea,–
To gaze on the Beauty whose subtle fire
Breaks on me thro’ Nature’s eyes,
And pour from the strings of my unused lyre
All tenderest harmonies!”

Ah, thirsty spirit! the day will come,
When, the sway of this mortal o’er,
Thou shall strike thy lyre with a fearless hand
On a brighter, calmer shore;
For God, who giveth the breath of Song,
Will not let His bright gifts die;
And though thy harp-strings be silent long,
Thou shalt waken them by and by.

Aye! and the Music that seemeth lost
Shall linger in Memory’s cells,
As lingers along the Alpine heights
The echo of vesper-bells;–
Not lost, but waiting the freer pulse
Of the life thou yet shalt know,
To blend with the tides of enraptured song
That the Heavenly heights o’erflow.

And the Beauty that, lost to thee, seemeth now
Sealed in thy heart shall stay,
As the sun-ray sealed in the diamond’s heart,
Burns on with unchanging ray,
Then take with gladness the joy that steals
The sting of thy toil away,
And wait in hope for the higher joy
That shall crown thee another day.