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"For every worm beneath the moon Draws different threads, and late and soon Spins, toiling out his own cocoon.
Cry, faint not either Truth is born Beyond the polar gleam forlorn,
Or in the gateways of the morn.
"Cry, faint not, climb: the summits slope Beyond the furthest flights of hope, Wrapt in dense cloud from base to cope,
"Sometimes a little corner shines, As over rainy mist inclines
A gleaming crag with belts of pines.
"I will go forward, sayest thou,
"If straight thy track, or if oblique, Thou know'st not. Shadows thou dost strike, Embracing cloud, Ixion-like;
"And owning but a little more
Than beasts, abidest lame and poor,
Calling thyself a little lower
"Than angels. Cease to wail and brawl!
Why inch by inch to darkness crawl?
There is one remedy for all."
"O dull, one-sided voice," said I,
"I know that age to age succeeds, Blowing a noise of tongues and deeds, A dust of systems and of creeds.
"I cannot hide that some have striven, Achieving calm, to whom was given The joy that mixes man with Heaven:
“Who, rowing hard against the stream,
“But heard, by secret transport led, Even in the charnels of the dead, The murmur of the fountain-head
“Which did accomplish their desire, Bore and forbore, and did not tire, Like Stephen, an unquenched fire.
"He heeded not reviling tones, Nor sold his heart to idle moans,
Though cursed and scorned, and bruised with
"But looking upward, full of grace, He prayed, and from a happy place God's glory smote him on the face."
The sullen answer slid betwixt:
I said, "I toil beneath the curse,
"And that, in seeking to undo
One riddle, and to find the true,
I knit a hundred others new:
“Or that this anguish fleeting hence,
"For I go, weak from suffering here;
"Consider well," the voice replied,
"Will he obey when one commands?
"His palms are folded on his breast: There is no other thing expressed But long disquiet merged in rest.
"His lips are very mild and meek: Though one should smite him on the cheek, And on the mouth, he will not speak.
"His little daughter, whose sweet face He kissed, taking his last embrace, Becomes dishonor to her race
"His sons grow up that bear his name, Some grow to honor, some to shame,— But he is chill to praise or blame.
"He will not hear the north-wind rave, Nor, moaning, household shelter crave From winter rains that beat his grave.
'High up the vapors fold and swim : About him broods the twilight dim: The place he knew forgetteth him."
"If all be dark, vague voice," I said, "These things are wrapped in doubt and dread, Nor canst thou show the dead are dead.
"The sap dries up: the plant declines. A deeper tale my heart divines.
Know I not Death? the outward signs?
"I found him when my years were few; A shadow on the graves I knew, And darkness in the village yew.
"From grave to grave the shadow crept: In her still place the morning wept: Touched by his feet the daisy slept.
"The simple senses crowned his head:
"Why, if man rot in dreamless ease, Should that plain fact, as taught by these, Not make him sure that he shall cease?
"Who forged that other influence, That heat of inward evidence,
By which he doubts against the sense?
“He owns the fatal gift of eyes,
"Here sits he shaping wings to fly;
"That type of Perfect in his mind
"He seems to hear a Heavenly Friend, And through thick veils to apprehend A labor working to an end.
"The end and the beginning vex His reason: many things perplex, With motions, checks, and counter-checks.
"He knows a baseness in his blood
"Heaven opens inward, chasms yawn.
"Ah! sure within him and without,
"But thou canst answer not again. With thine own weapon art thou slain, Or thou wilt answer but in vain.
"The doubt would rest, I dare not solve.
As when a billow, blown against,
"Where wert thou when thy father played
"A merry boy they called him then.
"Before the little ducts began