Blind multitudes that jar confusedly
At strife, earth’s children, will ye never rest
From toils made hateful here, and dawns distressed
With ravelling self-engendered misery?
And will ye never know, till sleep shall see.
Your graves, how dreadful and how dark indeed
Are pride, self-will, and blind-voiced anger, greed,
And malice with its subtle cruelty?
How beautiful is gentleness, whose face
Like April sunshine, or the summer rain,
Swells everywhere the buds of generous thought?
So easy, and so sweet it is; its grace
Smoothes out so soon the tangled knots of pain.
Can ye not learn it? will ye not be taught?
Oh earth, oh dewy mother, breathe on us
Something of all thy beauty and thy might,
Us that are part of day, but most of night,
Not strong like thee, but ever burdened thus
With glooms and cares, things pale and dolorous
Whose gladest moments are not wholly bright;
Something of all they freshness and thy light,
Oh earth, oh mighty mother, breathe on us.
Oh mother, who wast long before our day,
And after us full many an age shalt be.
Careworn and blind, we wander from thy way:
Born of thy strength, yet weak and halt are we
Grant us, oh mother, therefore, us who pray,
Some little of thy light and majesty.
Move on, light hands, so strongly tenderly,
Now with dropped calm and yearning undersong,
Now swift and loud, tumultuously strong,
And I in darkness, sitting near to thee,
Shall not only hear, and feel, but shall not see,
One hour made passionately bright with dreams,
Keen glimpses of life’s splendour, dashing gleams
Of what we would, and what we cannot be.
Surely not painful ever, yet not glad,
Shall such hours be to me, but blindly sweet,
Sharp with all yearning and all fact at strife,
Dreams that shine by with unremembered feet,
And tones that like far distance make this life
Spectral and wonderful and strangely sad.
What is more large than knowledge and more sweet;
Knowledge of thoughts and deeds, of rights and wrongs,
Of passions and of beauties and of songs;
Knowledge of life; to feel its great heart beat
Through all the soul upon her crystal seat;
To see, to feel, and evermore to know;
To till the old world’s wisdom till it grow
A garden for the wandering of our feet.
Oh for a life of leisure and broad hours,
To think and dream, to put away small things,
This world’s perpetual leaguer of dull naughts;
To wander like the bee among the flowers
Till old age find us weary, feet and wings
Grown heavy with the gold of many thoughts.