Not as of one whom multitudes admire,
I believe they call him great;
They throng to hear him with a strange desire;
They, silent, come and wait,
And wonder when he opens wide the gate
Of some strange, inner temple, where the fire
Is lit on many altars of many dreams --
They wait to catch the gleams --
And then they say,
In praiseful words: "'Tis beautiful and grand."
And so his way
Is strewn with many flowers, sweet and fair;
And people say:
"How happy he must be to win and wear
Praise ev'ry day!"
And all the while he stands far out the crowd,
Is it a Stole he wears? -- or mayhap a shroud --
No matter which, his spirit maketh moan;
And all the while a lonely, lonesome sense
Creeps thro' his days -- all fame's incense
Hath not the fragrance of his altar; and
He seemeth rather to kneel in lowly prayer
Than lift his head aloft amid the Grand:
If all the world would kneel down at his feet
And give acclaim --
He fain would say: "Oh! No! No! No!
The breath of fame is sweet -- but far more sweet
Is the breath of Him who lives within my heart;
God's breath, which e'en, despite of me, will creep
Along the words of merely human art;
It cometh from some far-off hidden Deep,
Far-off and from so far away --
It filleth night and day."
Not as of one who ever, ever cares
For earthly praises, not as of such think thou of me,
And in the nights and days -- I'll meet with thee
In Prayers -- and thou shalt meet with me.