By that one likeness which is ours and Thine,
By that one nature which doth hold us kin,
By that high heaven where, sinless, Thou dost shine
To draw us sinners in,
By Thy last silence in the judgment-hall,
By long foreknowledge of the deadly tree,
By darkness, by the wormwood and the gall,
I pray Thee visit me.
Come, lest this heart should, cold and cast away,
Die ere the guest adored she entertain—
Lest eyes which never saw Thine earthly day
Should miss Thy heavenly reign.
Come, weary-eyed from seeking in the night
Thy wanderers strayed upon the pathless wold,
Who wounded, dying, cry to Thee for light,
And cannot find their fold.
And deign, O Watcher, with the sleepless brow,
Pathetic in its yearning—deign reply:
Is there, O is there aught that such as Thou
Wouldst take from such as I?
Are there no briers across Thy pathway thrust?
Are there no thorns that compass it about?
Nor any stones that Thou wilt deign to trust
My hands to gather out?
O if Thou wilt, and if such bliss might be,
It were a cure for doubt, regret, delay—
Let my lost pathway go—what aileth me?—
There is a better way.
What though unmarked the happy workman toil,
And break unthanked of man the stubborn clod?
It is enough, for sacred is the soil,
Dear are the hills of God.
Far better in its place the lowliest bird
Should sing aright to Him the lowliest song,
Than that a seraph strayed should take the word
And sing His glory wrong.
Friend, it is time to work. I say to thee,
Thou dost all earthly good by much excel;
Thou and God’s blessing are enough for me:
My work, my work—farewell!
My heart is sick awishing and awaiting:
The lad took up his knapsack, he went, he went his way;
And I looked on for his coming, as a prisoner through the grating
Looks and longs and longs and wishes for its opening day.
On the wild purple mountains, all alone with no other,
The strong terrible mountains he longed, he longed to be;
And he stooped to kiss his father, and he stooped to kiss his mother,
And till I said, “Adieu, sweet Sir,” he quite forgot me.
He wrote of their white raiment, the ghostly capes
that screen them,
Of the storm winds that beat them, their thunder-rents and scars,
And the paradise of purple, and the golden slopes atween them,
And fields, where grow God’s gentian bells, and His crocus stars.
He wrote of frail gauzy clouds, that drop on them
And make green their fir forests, and feed their mosses hoar;
Or come sailing up the valleys, and get wrecked and go to pieces,
Like sloops against their cruel strength: then he wrote no more.