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Later Life: A Double Sonnet Of Sonnets
by [?]


1.

Before the mountains were brought forth, before
Earth and the world were made, then God was God:
And God will still be God, when flames shall roar
Round earth and heaven dissolving at His nod:
And this God is our God, even while His rod
Of righteous wrath falls on us smiting sore:
And this God is our God for evermore
Through life, through death, while clod returns to clod.
For though He slay us we will trust in Him;
We will flock home to Him by divers ways:
Yea, though He slay us we will vaunt His praise,
Serving and loving with the Cherubim,
Watching and loving with the Seraphim,
Our very selves His praise through endless days.

2.

Rend hearts and rend not garments for our sins;
Gird sackcloth not on body but on soul;
Grovel in dust with faces toward the goal
Nor won, nor neared: he only laughs who wins.
Not neared the goal, the race too late begins;
Or left undone, we have yet to do the whole;
The sun is hurrying west and toward the pole
Where darkness waits for earth with all her kins.
Let us to-day, while it is called to-day,
Set out, if utmost speed may yet avail–
The shadows lengthen and the light grows pale:
For who through darkness and the shadow of death,
Darkness that may be felt, shall find a way,
Blind-eyed, deaf-eared, and choked with failing breath?

3.

Thou Who didst make and knowest whereof we are made,
Oh bear in mind our dust and nothingness,
Our wordless tearless dumbness of distress:
Bear Thou in mind the burden Thou hast laid
Upon us, and our feebleness unstayed
Except Thou stay us: for the long long race
Which stretches far and far before our face
Thou knowest,–remember Thou whereof we are made.
If making makes us Thine, then Thine we are;
And if redemption, we are twice Thine own:
If once Thou didst come down from heaven afar
To seek us and to find us, how not save?
Comfort us, save us, leave us not alone,
Thou Who didst die our death and fill our grave.

4.

So tired am I, so weary of to-day,
So unrefreshed from foregone weariness,
So overburdened by foreseen distress,
So lagging and so stumbling on my way,
I scarce can rouse myself to watch or pray,
To hope, or aim, or toil for more or less,–
Ah, always less and less, even while I press
Forward and toil and aim as best I may.
Half-starved of soul and heartsick utterly,
Yet lift I up my heart and soul and eyes
(Which fail in looking upward) toward the prize:
Me, Lord, Thou seest though I see not Thee;
Me now, as once the Thief in Paradise,
Even me, O Lord my Lord, remember me.

5.

Lord, Thou Thyself art Love and only Thou;
Yet I who am not love would fain love Thee;
But Thou alone being Love canst furnish me
With that same love my heart is craving now.
Allow my plea! for if Thou disallow,
No second fountain can I find but Thee;
No second hope or help is left to me,
No second anything, but only Thou.
O Love accept, according my request;
O Love exhaust, fulfilling my desire:
Uphold me with the strength that cannot tire,
Nerve me to labor till Thou bid me rest,
Kindle my fire from Thine unkindled fire,
And charm the willing heart from out my breast.