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The Disciple
by [?]

Again I kneel, again I pray:
Wilt thou be God to me?
Wilt thou give ear to what I say,
And lift me up to thee?

Lord, is it true? Oh, vision high!
The clouds of heaven dispart;
An opening depth of loving sky
Looks down into my heart!

There is a home wherein to dwell–
The very heart of light!
Thyself my sun immutable,
My moon and stars all night!

I thank thee, Lord. It must be so,
Its beauty is so good.
Up in my heart thou mad’st it go,
And I have understood.

The clouds return. The common day
Falls on me like a No;
But I have seen what might be–may,
And with a hope I go.


I am a stranger in the land;
It gives no welcome dear;
Its lilies bloom not for my hand,
Its roses for my cheer.

The sunshine used to make me glad,
But now it knows me not;
This weight of brightness makes me sad–
It isolates a blot.

I am forgotten by the hills,
And by the river’s play;
No look of recognition thrills
The features of the day.

Then only am I moved to song,
When down the darkening street,
While vanishes the scattered throng,
The driving rain I meet.

The rain pours down. My thoughts awake,
Like flowers that languished long;
From bare cold hills the night-winds break,
From me the unwonted song.


I read the Bible with my eyes,
But hardly with my brain;
Should this the meaning recognize,
My heart yet reads in vain.

These words of promise and of woe
Seem but a tinkling sound;
As through an ancient tomb I go,
With dust-filled urns around.

Or, as a sadly searching child,
Afar from love and home,
Sits in an ancient chamber, piled
With scroll and musty tome,

So I, in these epistles old
From men of heavenly care,
Find all the thoughts of other mould
Than I can love or share.

No sympathy with mine they show,
Their world is not the same;
They move me not with joy or woe,
They touch me not with blame.

I hear no word that calls my life,
Or owns my struggling powers;
Those ancient ages had their strife,
But not a strife like ours.

Oh, not like men they move and speak,
Those pictures in old panes!
They alter not their aspect meek
For all the winds and rains!

Their thoughts are full of figures strange,
Of Jewish forms and rites:
A world of air and sea I range,
Of mornings and of nights!


I turn me to the gospel-tale:–
My hope is faint with fear
That hungriest search will not avail
To find a refuge here.

A misty wind blows bare and rude
From dead seas of the past;
And through the clouds that halt and brood,
Dim dawns a shape at last:

A sad worn man who bows his face,
And treads a frightful path,
To save an abject hopeless race
From an eternal wrath.

Kind words he speaks–but all the time
As from a formless height
To which no human foot can climb–
Half-swathed in ancient night.

Nay, sometimes, and to gentle heart,
Unkind words from him go!
Surely it is no saviour’s part
To speak to women so!

Much rather would I refuge take
With Mary, dear to me,
To whom that rough hard speech he spake–
What have I to do with thee?

Surely I know men tenderer,
Women of larger soul,
Who need no prayer their hearts to stir,
Who always would make whole!