"Truth lights our minds as sunrise lights the world.
The heart that shuts out truth, excludes the light
That wakes the love of beauty in the soul;
And being foe to these, despises God,
The sole Dispenser of the gracious bliss
That brings us nearer the celestial gate.
They who might feed on rose-leaves of the True,
And grow in loveliness of heart and soul,
Catch at Deception's airy gossamers,
As children clutch at stars. To some, the world
Is a bleak desert, parched with blinding sand,
With here and there a mirage, fair to view,
But insubstantial as the visions born
Of Folly and Despair. Could we but know
How nigh we are to the true light of heaven;
In what a world of love we live and breathe;
On what a tide of truth our souls are borne!
Yet we're but bubbles in the whirl of life,
Mere flecks upon its ever-restless sea,
Meteors in its ever-changing sky.
Eternity alone is worth the thought
That we expend upon the passing hour,
Chasing the gaudy butterflies that lure
Our footsteps from the path that leads us home.
We will not see the beacon on the rock;
The prompter is unheeded; and the spark
Of the true spirit quenched in utter night,
As we rush headlong, wrecked on Error's shoals.
Some hearts will never open; all their wards
Have grown so rusty, that the golden key
Of Love Divine must fail to move the bolt
That Self has drawn to keep God's angels out."
So spake the merry Margery, the while
Her fingers lengthened out a filigree,
That seemed to me so many golden threads
Of thought between her fingers and her brain,
Bestrung with priceless pearls; her lightsome mood,
Worn as occasion might necessitate,
Replaced to-night by sober-sided Sense,
That made her beauty like an eve in June,
Just as the moon is risen. I, to mark
My approbation of her present mood,
Rehearsed a rambling lyric of my own,
That seemed prophetic of her thoughts to-night:
Within my mind there ever lives
A yearning for the True,
The Beautiful and Good. God gives
These, as He gives the dew
That falls upon the flowers at night,
The grass, the thirsty trees,
Because 'tis needful; and the light
That suns my mind from these -
Truth - Beauty - Goodness, doth but fill
A void within my soul;
And I fall prone before the Will
Of Him who gave the whole -
The wondrous life - the power to think,
And love, and act, and speak.
Standing, half-poised, upon the brink
Of being - strong, yet weak -
Strong in vast hopes, but weak in deeds,
I lift my heart and pray,
That where the tangled skein of creeds
Excludes the light of day
From human minds, God's purposes
May be made plain, that all
May walk in truth's and wisdom's ways,
And lay aside the thrall
Of enmity, whose clouds have kept
Their souls as dark as night;
That they whose love and hope have slept,
May come into the light,
And live as men, with minds to grasp
Within the sphere of thought
The boundless universe, and clasp
The good the wise have sought,
As if it were a long-lost dove,
Or a stray soul returned
To worship in the fane of love,
That it so long had spurned.
Where'er I gaze, my eyes behold
Nought but the beautiful.
The world is grand as it is old;
The only fitting school
For man, where he may learn to live,
And live to learn that what
He needs heaven will in mercy give.
Whatever be his lot,
He shapes it for himself; his mind
Is his own heaven or hell:
Just as he peoples it, he'll find
Himself compelled to dwell
With good or evil. Good abounds
In this delightful sphere;
But man will walk his daily rounds,
And evermore give ear
To the false promptings that waylay
His steps at every turn;
Flinging the true and good away
For joys that he should spurn,
As being all unworthy of
His greatness as a man.
Why, man! - why tremble at the scoff
Of fools and bigots? Scan
The mental firmament, and see
How men in every age,
Who strove for immortality -
Whose errand was to wage
Not War, but Peace - men of pure minds,
Who sought and found the truth,
And treasured it, as one who finds
The secret of lost Youth
Restored and made immortal - see
How they were scorned, because
Their Sphinx-lives spake of mystery
To those to whom the laws
Of nature are as claspèd books! -
Poets, who ruled the world
Of Thought; in whose prophetic looks
And minds there lay impearled,
But hidden from the vulgar sight,
Such universal truths,
That many, blinded by the light -
Gray-haired, green-gosling youths,
With whips of satire, looks of scorn,
And finger of disdain,
Have crushed these harbingers of morn,
But could not kill the strain
That was a part of nature's mind,
And therefore can not die.
That which men spurned, angels have shrined
Among God's truths on high.
And so 't will ever be, till man
Knows more of Goodness, Truth,
And Beauty - more of nature's plan,
And Love that brings back youth
To hearts that have grown frail and old
By groping in the dark
With blinded eyes; their idol, Gold,
And Gain, their Pleasure-bark!
"'Tis well that nature hath her ministers,"
She said, her voice and looks so passing sweet;
"Great-hearts that let in love, and keep it there,
Like the true flame within the diamond's heart,
Informing, blessing, chastening their lives.
Man has but one great love - his love for God;
All other loves are lesser and more less
As they recede from Him, as are the streams
The farthest from the fountain. God is Love.
Who loves God most, loves most his fellow-men;
Sees the Creator in the creature's form
Where others see but man - and he, so frail
The very devils are akin to him!
There is no light that is not born of love;
No truth where love is not its guiding star;
Faith without love is noonday without sun,
For love begetteth works both good and true,
And these give faith its immortality."
We parted at the outer door. The stars
Seemed never half so bright or numberless
As they appeared to-night. Margery's laugh
Tripped after me in merry cadences,
Like the quick steps of fairies in the air
United to the chorus of their hearts
Breathed into silvery music. Happy soul!
Nature's epitome in all her moods.