Thy world is made to fit thine own,
A nursery for thy children small,
The playground-footstool of thy throne,
Thy solemn school-room, Father of all!
When day is done, in twilight’s gloom,
We pass into thy presence-room.
Because from selfishness and wrath,
Our cold and hot extremes of ill,
We grope and stagger on the path–
Thou tell’st us from thy holy hill,
With icy storms and sunshine rude,
That we are all unripe in good.
Because of snaky things that creep
Through our soul’s sea, dim-undulant,
Thou fill’st the mystery of thy deep
With faces heartless, grim, and gaunt;
That we may know how ugly seem
The things our spirit-oceans teem.
Because of half-way things that hold
Good names, and have a poisonous breath–
Prudence that is but trust in gold,
And faith that is but fear of death–
Amongst thy flowers, the lovely brood,
Thou sendest some that are not good.
Thou stay’st thy hand from finishing things
To make thy child love the complete;
Full many a flower comes up thy springs
Unshamed in imperfection sweet;
That through good all, and good in part,
Thy work be perfect in the heart.
Because, in careless confidence,
So oft we leave the narrow way,
Its borders thorny hedges fence,
Beyond them marshy deeps affray;
But farther on, the heavenly road
Lies through the gardens of our God.
Because thy sheep so often will
Forsake the meadow cool and damp
To climb the stony, grassless hill,
Or wallow in the slimy swamp,
Thy sicknesses, where’er they roam,
Go after them to bring them home.
One day, all fear, all ugliness,
All pain, all discord, dumb or loud,
All selfishness, and all distress,
Will melt like low-spread morning cloud,
And heart and brain be free from thrall,
Because thou, God, art all in all!