Go if thou wilt, ambrosial flower,
Go match thee with thy seeming peers;
I will wait Heaven’s perfect hour
Through the innumerable years.
Yes, sometimes to the sorrow-stricken
Shall his own sorrow seem impertinent,
A thing that takes no more root in the world
Than doth the traveller’s shadow on the rock.
But if thou do thy best,
Without remission, without rest,
And invite the sunbeam,
And abhor to feign or seem
Even to those who thee should love
And thy behavior approve;
If thou go in thine own likeness,
Be it health, or be it sickness;
If thou go as thy father’s son,
If thou wear no mask or lie,
Dealing purely and nakedly,—
* * *
Ascending thorough just degrees
To a consummate holiness,
As angel blind to trespass done,
And bleaching all souls like the sun.
From the stores of eldest matter,
The deep-eyed flame, obedient water,
Transparent air, all-feeding earth,
He took the flower of all their worth,
And, best with best in sweet consent,
Combined a new temperament.
The bard and mystic held me for their own,
I filled the dream of sad, poetic maids,
I took the friendly noble by the hand,
I was the trustee of the hand-cart man,
The brother of the fisher, porter, swain,
And these from the crowd’s edge well pleased beheld
The service done to me as done to them.
With the key of the secret he marches faster,
From strength to strength, and for night brings day;
While classes or tribes, too weak to master
The flowing conditions of life, give way.
Wilt thou seal up the avenues of ill?
Pay every debt as if God wrote the bill.
If curses be the wage of love,
Hide in thy skies, thou fruitless Jove,
Not to be named:
It is clear
Why the gods will not appear;
They are ashamed.
When wrath and terror changed Jove’s regal port,
And the rash-leaping thunderbolt fell short.
Shun passion, fold the hands of thrift,
Sit still and Truth is near:
Suddenly it will uplift
Your eyelids to the sphere:
Wait a little, you shall see
The portraiture of things to be.
The rules to men made evident
By Him who built the day,
The columns of the firmament
Not firmer based than they.
On bravely through the sunshine and the showers!
Time hath his work to do and we have ours.
In many forms we try
To utter God’s infinity,
But the boundless hath no form,
And the Universal Friend
Doth as far transcend
An angel as a worm.
The great Idea baffles wit,
Language falters under it,
It leaves the learned in the lurch;
Nor art, nor power, nor toil can find
The measure of the eternal Mind,
Nor hymn, nor prayer, nor church.