"Why this fever why this sighing?
Why this restless longing dying
For a something dreamy something,
Undefined, and yet defying
All the pride and power of manhood?
"O these years of sin and sorrow!
Smiling while the iron harrow
Of a keen and biting longing
Tears and quivers in the marrow
Of my being every moment
Of my very inmost being.
"What to me the mad ambition
For men's praise and proud position
Struggling, fighting to the summit
Of its vain and earthly mission,
To lie down on bed of ashes
Bed of barren, bitter ashes?
"Cure this fever? I have tried it;
Smothered, drenched it and defied it
With a will of brass and iron;
Every smile and look denied it;
Yet it heeded not denying,
And it mocks at my defying
While my very soul is dying.
"Is there balm in Gilead? tell me!
Nay no balm to soothe and quell me?
Must I tremble in this fever?
Death, O lift thy hand and fell me;
Let me sink to rest forever
Where this burning cometh never.
"Sometimes when this restless madness
Softens down to mellow sadness,
I look back on sun-lit valleys
Where my boyish heart of gladness
Nestled without pain or longing
Nestled softly in a vision
Full of love and hope's fruition,
Lulled by morning songs of spring-time.
"Then I ponder, and I wonder
Was some heart-chord snapped asunder
When the threads were soft and silken?
Did some fatal boyish blunder
Plant a canker in my bosom
That hath ever burned and rankled?
"O this thirsting, thirsting hanker!
O this burning, burning canker'
Driving Peace and Hope to shipwreck
Without rudder, without anchor,
On the reef-rocks of Damnation!"
"Jesus Son of Virgin Mary;
Lift the burden from the weary:
Pity, Jesus, and anoint him
With the holy balm of Gilead."
"Yea, Christ Jesus, pour thy blessings
On these terrible heart-pressings:
O I bless thee, unseen Angel;
Lead me teach me, holy Spirit."
"There is balm in Gilead!
There is balm in Gilead!
Peace awaits thee with caressings
Sitting at the feet of Jesus
At the right-hand of Jehovah
At the blessed feet of Jesus; Alleluia!"