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The Disciple
by [?]

* * * * *


Once more I kneel. The earth is dark,
And darker yet the air;
If light there be, ’tis but a spark
Amid a world’s despair–

One hopeless hope there yet may be
A God somewhere to hear;
The God to whom I bend my knee–
A God with open ear.

I know that men laugh still to scorn
The grief that is my lot;
Such wounds, they say, are hardly borne,
But easily forgot.

What matter that my sorrows rest
On ills which men despise!
More hopeless heaves my aching breast
Than when a prophet sighs.

AEons of griefs have come and gone–
My grief is yet my mark.
The sun sets every night, yet none
Sees therefore in the dark.

There’s love enough upon the earth,
And beauty too, they say:
There may be plenty, may be dearth,
I care not any way.

The world hath melted from my sight;
No grace in life is left;
I cry to thee with all my might,
Because I am bereft.

In vain I cry. The earth is dark,
And darker yet the air;
Of light there trembles now no spark
In my lost soul’s despair.

* * * * *


I sit and gaze from window high
Down on the noisy street:
No part in this great coil have I,
No fate to go and meet.

My books unopened long have lain;
In class I am all astray:
The questions growing in my brain,
Demand and have their way.

Knowledge is power, the people cry;
Grave men the lure repeat:
After some rarer thing I sigh,
That makes the pulses beat.

Old truths, new facts, they preach aloud–
Their tones like wisdom fall:
One sunbeam glancing on a cloud
Hints things beyond them all.

* * * * *


But something is not right within;
High hopes are far gone by.
Was it a bootless aim–to win
Sight of a loftier sky?

They preach men should not faint, but pray,
And seek until they find;
But God is very far away,
Nor is his countenance kind.

Yet every night my father prayed,
Withdrawing from the throng!
Some answer must have come that made
His heart so high and strong!

Once more I’ll seek the God of men,
Redeeming childhood’s vow.–
–I failed with bitter weeping then,
And fail cold-hearted now!


Why search for God? A man I tread
This old life-bearing earth;
High thoughts awake and lift my head–
In me they have their birth.

The preacher says a Christian must
Do all the good he can:–
I must be noble, true, and just,
Because I am a man!

They say a man must watch, and keep
Lamp burning, garments white,
Else he shall sit without and weep
When Christ comes home at night:–

A man must hold his honour free,
His conscience must not stain,
Or soil, I say, the dignity
Of heart and blood and brain!

Yes, I say well–said words are cheap!
For action man was born!
What praise will my one talent reap?
What grapes are on my thorn?

Have high words kept me pure enough?
In evil have I no part?
Hath not my bosom “perilous stuff
That weighs upon the heart”?

I am not that which I do praise;
I do not that I say;
I sit a talker in the ways,
A dreamer in the day!


The preacher’s words are true, I know–
That man may lose his life;
That every man must downward go
Without the upward strife.

‘Twere well my soul should cease to roam,
Should seek and have and hold!
It may be there is yet a home
In that religion old.