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Death And Birth
by [?]

[Sidenote: Dead indeed unto Sin.]

Now ’tis finished. So depart
All untruth from out my heart;
All false ways of speaking, thinking;
All false ways of looking, linking;
All that is not true and real,
Tending not to God’s Ideal:
Help me–how shall human breath
Word Thy meaning in this death!

[Sidenote: How is no matter, so that he wake to Life and Sight.]

Now come hither. Bring that tool.
Its name I know not; but its use
Written on its shape in full
Tells me it is no abuse
If I strike a hole withal
Through this thick opposed wall.
The rainbow-pavement! Never heed it–
What is that, where light is needed?
Where? I care not; quickest best.
What kind of window would I choose?
Foolish man, what sort of hues
Would you have to paint the East,
When each hill and valley lies
Hungering for the sun to rise?
‘Tis an opening that I want;
Let the light in, that is all;
Needful knowledge it will grant.
How to frame the window tall.
Who at morning ever lies
Thinking how to ope his eyes?
This room’s eyelids I will ope,
Make a morning as I may;
‘Tis the time for work and hope;
Night is waning near the day.

I bethink me, workman priest;
It were best to pierce the wall
Where the thickness is the least–
Nearer there the light-beams fall,
Sooner with our dark to mix–
That niche where stands the Crucifix.
“The Crucifix! what! impious task!
Wilt thou break into its shrine?
Taint with human the Divine?”
Friend, did Godhead wear a mask
Of the human? or did it
Choose a form for Godhead fit?

[Sidenote: The form must yield to the Truth.]

Brother with the rugged crown
Won by being all divine,
This my form may come to Thine:
Gently thus I lift Thee down;
Lovingly, O marble cold,
Thee with human hands I fold,
And I set Thee thus aside,
Human rightly deified!
God, by manhood glorified!

[Sidenote: Nothing less than the Cross would satisfy the Godhead for its own assertion and vindication.]

Thinkest thou that Christ did stand
Shutting God from out the land?
Hiding from His children’s eyes
Dayspring in the holy skies?
Stood He not with loving eye
On one side, to bring us nigh?
“Doth this form offend you still?
God is greater than you see;
If you seek to do His will,
He will lead you unto me.”
Then the tender Brother’s grace
Leads us to the Father’s face.
As His parting form withdrew,
Burst His Spirit on the view.
Form completest, radiant white,
Sometimes must give way for light,
When the eye, itself obscure,
Stead of form is needing cure:
Washed at morning’s sunny brim
From the mists that make it dim,
Set thou up the form again,
And its light will reach the brain.
For the Truth is Form allowed,
For the glory is the cloud;
But the single eye alone
Sees with light that is its own,
From primeval fountain-head
Flowing ere the sun was made;
Such alone can be regaled
With the Truth by form unveiled;
To such an eye his form will be
Gushing orb of glory free.

[Sidenote: Striving.]

Stroke on stroke! The frescoed plaster
Clashes downward, fast and faster.
Now the first stone disengages;
Now a second that for ages
Bested there as in a rock
Yields to the repeated shock.
Hark! I heard an outside stone
Down the rough rock rumbling thrown!