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by [?]


To get at the eternal strength of things,
And fearlessly to make strong songs of it,
Is, to my mind, the mission of that man
The world would call a poet. He may sing
But roughly, and withal ungraciously;
But if he touch to life the one right chord
Wherein God’s music slumbers, and awake
To truth one drowsed ambition, he sings well.


We thrill too strangely at the master’s touch;
We shrink too sadly from the larger self
Which for its own completeness agitates
And undetermines us; we do not feel —
We dare not feel it yet — the splendid shame
Of uncreated failure; we forget,
The while we groan, that God’s accomplishment
Is always and unfailingly at hand.


To mortal ears the plainest word may ring
Fantastic and unheard-of, and as false
And out of tune as ever to our own
Did ring the prayers of man-made maniacs;
But if that word be the plain word of Truth,
It leaves an echo that begets itself,
Persistent in itself and of itself,
Regenerate, reiterate, replete.


Tumultuously void of a clean scheme
Whereon to build, whereof to formulate,
The legion life that riots in mankind
Goes ever plunging upward, up and down,
Most like some crazy regiment at arms,
Undisciplined of aught but Ignorance,
And ever led resourcelessly along
To brainless carnage by drunk trumpeters.


To me the groaning of world-worshippers
Rings like a lonely music played in hell
By one with art enough to cleave the walls
Of heaven with his cadence, but without
The wisdom or the will to comprehend
The strangeness of his own perversity,
And all without the courage to deny
The profit and the pride of his defeat.


While we are drilled in error, we are lost
Alike to truth and usefulness. We think
We are great warriors now, and we can brag
Like Titans; but the world is growing young,
And we, the fools of time, are growing with it: —
We do not fight to-day, we only die;
We are too proud of death, and too ashamed
Of God, to know enough to be alive.


There is one battle-field whereon we fall
Triumphant and unconquered; but, alas!
We are too fleshly fearful of ourselves
To fight there till our days are whirled and blurred
By sorrow, and the ministering wheels
Of anguish take us eastward, where the clouds
Of human gloom are lost against the gleam
That shines on Thought’s impenetrable mail.


When we shall hear no more the cradle-songs
Of ages — when the timeless hymns of Love
Defeat them and outsound them — we shall know
The rapture of that large release which all
Right science comprehends; and we shall read,
With unoppressed and unoffended eyes,
That record of All-Soul whereon God writes
In everlasting runes the truth of Him.


The guerdon of new childhood is repose: —
Once he has read the primer of right thought,
A man may claim between two smithy strokes
Beatitude enough to realize
God’s parallel completeness in the vague
And incommensurable excellence
That equitably uncreates itself
And makes a whirlwind of the Universe.


There is no loneliness: — no matter where
We go, nor whence we come, nor what good friends
Forsake us in the seeming, we are all
At one with a complete companionship;
And though forlornly joyless be the ways
We travel, the compensate spirit-gleams
Of Wisdom shaft the darkness here and there,
Like scattered lamps in unfrequented streets.