And haply half unblamed his murmuring voice
Might sound in Heaven, were all his second life
Only the first renewed—the heathen’s choice,
A round of listless joy and weary strife.
For dreary were this earth, if earth were all,
Tho’ brightened oft by dear Affection’s kiss; —
Who for the spangles wears the funeral pall?
But catch a gleam beyond it, and ’tis bliss.
Heavy and dull this frame of limbs and heart,
Whether slow creeping on cold earth, or borne
On lofty steed, or loftier prow, we dart
O’er wave or field: yet breezes laugh to scorn
Our puny speed, and birds, and clouds in heaven,
And fish, living shafts that pierce the main,
And stars that shoot through freezing air at even —
Who but would follow, might he break his chain?
And thou shalt break it soon; the grovelling worm
Shall find his wings, and soar as fast and free
As his transfigured Lord with lightning form
And snowy vest—such grace He won for thee,
When from the grave He sprang at dawn of morn,
And led through boundless air thy conquering road,
Leaving a glorious track, where saints, new-born,
Might fearless follow to their blest abode.
But first, by many a stern and fiery blast
The world’s rude furnace must thy blood refine,
And many a gale of keenest woe be passed,
Till every pulse beat true to airs divine,
Till every limb obey the mounting soul,
The mounting soul, the call by Jesus given.
He who the stormy heart can so control,
The laggard body soon will waft to Heaven.
TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY
The heart knoweth his own bitterness: and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy. Proverbs xiv. 10.
Why should we faint and fear to live alone,
Since all alone, so Heaven has willed, we die,
Nor e’en the tenderest heart, and next our own,
Knows half the reasons why we smile and sigh?
Each in his hidden sphere of joy or woe
Our hermit spirits dwell, and range apart,
Our eyes see all around in gloom or glow —
Hues of their own, fresh borrowed from the heart.
And well it is for us our god should feel
Alone our secret throbbings: so our prayer
May readier spring to Heaven, nor spend its zeal
On cloud-born idols of this lower air.
For if one heart in perfect sympathy
Beat with another, answering love for love,
Weak mortals, all entranced, on earth would lie,
Nor listen for those purer strains above.
Or what if Heaven for once its searching light
Lent to some partial eye, disclosing all
The rude bad thoughts, that in our bosom’s night
Wander at large, nor heed Love’s gentle thrall?
Who would not shun the dreary uncouth place?
As if, fond leaning where her infant slept,
A mother’s arm a serpent should embrace:
So might we friendless live, and die unwept.