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"Think you this mould of hopes and fears Could find no statelier than his peers In yonder hundred million spheres?"
It spake, moreover, in my mind:
Though thou wert scattered to the wind, Yet is there plenty of the kind."
Then did my response clearer fall : "No compound of this earthly ball Is like another, all in all.”
To which he answered scoffingly:
"Or will one beam be less intense,
I would have said, "Thou canst not know," But my full heart, that worked below, Rained through my sight its overflow.
Again the voice spake unto me: "Thou art so steeped in misery, Surely 'twere better not to be.
"Thine anguish will not let thee sleep, Nor any train of reason keep: Thou canst not think, but thou wilt weep."
I said, "The years with change advance:
"Some turn this sickness yet might take, Even yet." But he: "What drug can make A withered palsy cease to shake ?"
I wept, " Though I should die, I know
“And men, through novel spheres of thought Still moving after truth long sought, Will learn new things when I am not.”
"Yet," said the secret voice, "some time,
"Not less swift souls that yearn for light,
"Not less the bee would range her cells,
I said that "all the years invent;
"Were this not well, to bide mine hour, Though watching from a ruined tower How grows the day of human power?"
"The highest-mounted mind," he said, "Still sees the sacred morning spread The silent summit overhead.
"Will thirty seasons render plain Those lonely lights that still remain, Just breaking over land and main ?
"Or make that morn, from his cold crown
"Forerun thy peers, thy time, and let Thy feet, millenniums hence, be set In midst of knowledge dreamed not yet.
"Thou hast not gained a real height, Nor art thou nearer to the light, Because the scale is infinite.
""Twere better not to breathe or speak, Than cry for strength, remaining weak, And seem to find, but still to seek.
"Moreover, but to seem to find Asks what thou lackest, thought resigned, A healthy frame, a quiet mind.”
I said, "When I am gone away,
"This is more vile," he made reply, "To breathe and loathe, to live and sigh, Than once from dread of pain to die.
"Sick art thou-a divided will Still heaping on the fear of ill The fear of men, a coward still.
"Do men love thee? Art thou so bound To men, that how thy name may sound Will vex thee lying underground?
"The memory of the withered leaf In endless time is scarce more brief Than of the garnered Autumn-sheaf.
"Go, vexed Spirit, sleep in trust; The right ear, that is filled with dust, Hears little of the false or just.”
"Hard task, to pluck resolve," I cried, "From emptiness and the waste wide Of that abyss, or scornful pride!
"Nay-rather yet that I could raise One hope that warmed me in the days While still I yearned for human praise.
"When, wide in soul and bold of tongue, Among the tents I paused and sung, The distant battle flashed and rung.
"I sung the joyful Pæan clear, And, sitting, burnished without fear The brand, the buckler, and the spear
"Waiting to strive a happy strife, To war with falsehood to the knife, And not to lose the good of life—
"Some hidden principle to move, To put together, part and prove, And mete the bounds of hate and love
"As far as might be, to carve out Free space for every human doubt, That the whole mind might orb about—
"To search through all I felt and saw, The springs of life, the depths of awe, And reach the law within the law:
"At least, not rotting like a weed, But having sown some generous seed, Fruitful of further thought and deed,
"To pass, when Life her light withdraws, Not void of righteous self-applause, Nor in a merely selfish cause
"In some good cause, not in mine own, To perish, wept for, honored, known, And like a warrior overthrown;
"Whose eyes are dim with glorious tears, When, soiled with noble dust, he hears His country's war-song thrill his ears:
"Then dying of a mortal stroke, What time the foeman's line is broke, And all the war is rolled in smoke.”
"Yea!" said the voice, "thy dream was good, While thou abodest in the bud.
It was the stirring of the blood.
"If Nature put not forth her power About the opening of the flower, Who is it that could live an hour?
"Then comes the check, the change, the fall. Pain rises up, old pleasures pall. There is one remedy for all.
"Yet hadst thou, through enduring pain, Linked month to month with such a chain Of knitted purport, all were vain.
"Thou hadst not between death and birth
"That men with knowledge merely played,
"Much less this dreamer, deaf and blind, Named man, may hope some truth to find, That bears relation to the mind.