Oh deep-eyed brothers was there ever here,
Or is there now, or shall there sometime be
Harbour or any rest for such as we,
Lone thin-cheeked mariners, that aye must steer
Our whispering barks with such keen hope and fear
Toward misty bournes across the coastless sea,
Whose winds are songs that ever gust and flee,
Whose shores are dreams that tower but come not near.
Yet we perchance, for all that flesh and mind
Of many ills be marked with many a trace,
Shall find this life more sweet more strangely kind,
Than they of that dim-hearted earthly race,
Who creep firm-nailed upon the earth’s hard face,
And hear nor see not, being deaf and blind.
Half god, half brute, within the self-same shell,
Changers with every hour from dawn till even,
Who dream with angels in the gate of heaven,
And skirt with curious eyes the brinks of hell,
Children of Pan, whom some, the few, love well,
But most draw back, and know not what to say,
Poor shining angels, whom the hoofs betray,
Whose pinions frighten with their goatish smell.
Half brutish, half divine, but all of earth,
Half-way ’twixt hell and heaven, near to man,
The whole world’s tangle gathered in one span,
Full of this human torture and this mirth:
Life with its hope and error, toil and bliss,
Earth-born, earth-reared, ye know it as it is.
Friend, though thy soul shall burn thee, yet be still,
Thoughts were not meant for strife, not tongues for swords.
He that sees clear is gentlest of his words.
And that’s not truth that hath the heart to kill.
The whole world’s thought shall not one truth fulfill.
Dull in our age, and passionate in youth,
No mind of man hath found the perfect truth,
Nor shalt thou find it; therefore, friend, be still.
Watch and be still, not hearken to the fool,
The babbler of consistency and rule:
Wisest is he, who, never quite secure,
Changes his thoughts for better day by day:
To-morrow some new light will shine, be sure,
And thou shalt see thy thought another way.
Oh ye, who found in men’s brief ways no sign
Of strength or help, so cast them forth, and threw
Your whole souls up to one ye deemed most true,
Nor failed nor doubted but held fast your line,
Seeing before you that divine face shine;
Shall we not mourn, when yours are now so few,
Those sterner days, when all men yearned to you,
White souls whose beauty made their world divine:
Yet still across life’s tangled storms we see,
Following the cross, your pale procession led,
One hope, one end, all others sacrificed,
Self-abnegation, love, humility,
Your faces shining toward the bended head,
The wounded hands and patient feet of Christ.