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The Story
by [?]

O thou whose feet tread ever the wet sands
And howling rocks along the wearing shore,
Roaming the confines of the endless sea!
Strain not thine eyes across, bedimmed with tears;
No sail comes back across that tender line.
Turn thee unto thy work, let God alone;
He will do his part. Then across the waves
Will float faint whispers from the better land,
Veiled in the dust of waters we call storms,
To thine averted ears. Do thou thy work,
And thou shalt follow; follow, and find thine own.

O thou who liv’st in fear of the To come!
Around whose house the storm of terror breaks
All night; to whose love-sharpened ear, all day,
The Invisible is calling at thy door,
To render up that which thou can’st not keep,
Be it a life or love! Open thy door,
And carry forth thy dead unto the marge
Of the great sea; bear it into the flood,
Braving the cold that creepeth to thy heart,
And lay thy coffin as an ark of hope
Upon the billows of the infinite sea.
Give God thy dead to keep: so float it back,
With sighs and prayers to waft it through the dark,
Back to the spring of life. Say–“It is dead,
But thou, the life of life, art yet alive,
And thou can’st give the dead its dear old life,
With new abundance perfecting the old.
God, see my sadness; feel it in thyself.”

Ah God! the earth is full of cries and moans,
And dull despair, that neither moans nor cries;
Thousands of hearts are waiting the last day,
For what they know not, but with hope of change,
Of resurrection, or of dreamless death.
Raise thou the buried dead of springs gone by
In maidens’ bosoms; raise the autumn fruits
Of old men feebly mournful o’er the life
Which scarce hath memory but the mournfulness.
There is no Past with thee: bring back once more
The summer eves of lovers, over which
The wintry wind that raveth through the world
Heaps wretched leaves, half tombed in ghastly snow;
Bring back the mother-heaven of orphans lone,
The brother’s and the sister’s faithfulness;
Bring forth the kingdom of the Son of Man.

They troop around me, children wildly crying;
Women with faded eyes, all spent of tears;
Men who have lived for love, yet lived alone;
And worse than so, whose grief cannot be said.
O God, thou hast a work to do indeed
To save these hearts of thine with full content,
Except thou give them Lethe’s stream to drink,
And that, my God, were all unworthy thee.

Dome up, O Heaven! yet higher o’er my head;
Back, back, horizon! widen out my world;
Rush in, O infinite sea of the Unknown!
For, though he slay me, I will trust in God.