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A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral:
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song:
To dialogues of business, love, or strife;
Ere this be thrown aside,
And with new joy and pride
The little Actor cons another part;
Filling from time to time his "humorous stage”
Were endless imitation.
Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belie
Thou best Philosopher, who yet dost keep
Mighty Prophet! Seer blest!
On whom those truths do rest,
Which we are toiling all our lives to find,
Thou, over whom thy Immortality
Broods like the day, a Master o'er a Slave,
Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?
And custom lie upon thee with a weight,
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!
O joy that in our embers
The thought of our past years in me doth breed,
For that which is most worthy to be blest;
Delight and liberty, the simple creed
Of Childhood, whether busy or at rest,
With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast: Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings;
Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts before which our mortal Nature,
Those shadowy recollections,
Are yet the fountain light of all our day,
Are yet a master light of all our seeing;
Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavor,
Nor all that is at enmity with joy,
Can utterly abolish or destroy!
Hence in a season of calm weather,
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea,
Can in a moment travel thither,
And see the Children sport upon the shore,
Then sing, ye Birds, sing, sing a joyous song!
As to the tabor's sound!
We in thought will join your throng,
Ye that pipe and ye that play,
Ye that through your hearts to-day
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
Which having been must ever be;
In the faith that looks through death,
And O, ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,
Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;
I only have relinquished one delight,
To live beneath your more habitual sway.
I loved the Brooks which down their channels fret,
The Clouds that gather round the setting sun
That hath kept watch o'er man's mortality;
Another race hath been, and other palms are won.
EXTRACT FROM "THE RECONCILER."
Our dreams are reconciled,
And Thou, our Life's Interpreter, dost still
Each mythic tale sublime
Of strength to save, of sweetness to subdue,
Wisdom's first lovers told, if read in Thee comes true.
Thou, O Friend
From heaven, that madest this our heart Thine own,
Each claim is justified;
Our young illusions fail not, though they die
The World that puts Thee by,
That sendeth after Thee the sullen cry,
It will not, of some base similitude
Takes up a taunting witness, till its mood,
Grown fierce o'er failing hopes, doth rend and tear Its own illusions grown too thin and bare
To wrap it longer; for within the gate
Where all must pass, a veiled and hooded Fate,
A dark Chimera, coiled and tangled lies,
And he who answers not its question dies,
Still changing form and speech, but with the same
Bold guesser, hath but prest
Most nigh to Thee, our noisy plaudits wrong;
Meat from this eater, sweetness from this strong.
O Bearer of the key
That shuts and opens with a sound so sweet
We labor in the fire,
Thick smoke is round about us, through the din Of words that darken counsel, clamors dire
Ring from thought's beaten anvil, where within
Thou camest, saying, "Wherefore do ye wrong
Then these twain
Will own their kindred, and in Thee retain
Their claims in peace, because Thy land is wide
Thou, King forevermore, forever Priest,
Thou, Brother of our own from bonds released
A Law of Liberty,
A Service making free,
A Commonweal where each has all in Thee.
And not alone these wide,
Deep-planted yearnings, seeking with a cry