The Vision of Sir Launfal eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 75 pages of information about The Vision of Sir Launfal.

III.

    Many loved Truth, and lavished life’s best oil
      Amid the dust of books to find her,
    Content at last, for guerdon of their toil,
      With the cast mantle she hath left behind her. 45
        Many in sad faith sought for her,
        Many with crossed hands sighed for her;
        But these, our brothers, fought for her,
        At life’s dear peril wrought for her,
        So loved her that they died for her, 50
        Tasting the raptured fleetness
        Of her divine completeness
          Their higher instinct knew
    Those love her best who to themselves are true,
    And what they dare to dream of, dare to do; 55
        They followed her and found her
        Where all may hope to find,
    Not in the ashes of the burnt-out mind,
    But beautiful, with danger’s sweetness round her. 
      Where faith made whole with deed 60
      Breathes its awakening breath
      Into the lifeless creed,
      They saw her plumed and mailed,
      With sweet, stern face unveiled,
    And all-repaying eyes, look proud on them in death. 65

[Footnote 6:  An early emblem of Harvard College was a shield with Veritas (truth) upon three open books.  This device is still used.]

IV.

Our slender life runs rippling by, and glides
Into the silent hollow of the past;
What is there that abides
To make the next age better for the last? 
Is earth too poor to give us 70
Something to live for here that shall outlive us? 
Some more substantial boon
Than such as flows and ebbs with Fortune’s fickle moon? 
The little that we see
From doubt is never free; 75
The little that we do
Is but half-nobly true;
With our laborious hiving
What men call treasure, and the gods call dross,
Life seems a jest of Fate’s contriving, 80
Only secure in every one’s conniving,
A long account of nothings paid with loss,
Where we poor puppets, jerked by unseen wires,
After our little hour of strut and rave,
With all our pasteboard passions and desires, 85
Loves, hates, ambitions, and immortal fires,
Are tossed pell-mell together in the grave. 
But stay! no age was e’er degenerate,
Unless men held it at too cheap a rate,
For in our likeness still we shape our fate. 90
Ah, there is something here
Unfathomed by the cynic’s sneer,
Something that gives our feeble light
A high immunity from Night,
Something that leaps life’s narrow bars 95
To claim its birthright with the hosts of heaven;

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Project Gutenberg
The Vision of Sir Launfal from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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