Is his form hidden by some cliff or crag,
Or does he loiter on the shelving shore?
We know not, though we know he waits for us,
Somewhere upon the road that lies before.
And when he bids us we must follow him,
Must leave our half-drawn nets, our houses, lands,
And those we love the most, and best, ah they
In vain will cling to us with pleading hands!
He will not wait for us to gird our robes,
And be they white as saints, or soiled and dim,
We can but gather them around our form,
And take his icy hand and follow him.
Oh! will our palm cling to another palm
Loath, loath to loose our hold of love's warm grasp.
Or shall we free our hand from the hand of grief,
And reach it gladly out to meet his clasp?
Sometimes I marvel when we two shall meet,
When I shall hear that stealthy step, and see
The unseen form that haunteth mortal dreams,
The stern-browed face, the eyes of mystery.
Shall I be waiting for some wished-for wealth,
Impatient, by the shore of a purple sea?
But when the vessel's keel grates on the sand,
Will HE lean down its side and call to me?
Shall I in thymy pastures cool and sweet
See the lark soaring through the rosy air?
Ah, then, will his dark face look down on me,
'Neath the white splendor of the morning star.
Shall I be resting from the noonday blaze,
In the rich summer of a blossoming land,
And idly glancing through the lotus leaves,
Behold the shadow of his beckoning hand?
Or in some inland village, shaded deep,
With silence brooding o'er the quiet place,
Shall I look from some lattice crowned with flowers,
In the calm twilight and behold his face?
Or shall I over such a lonely way,
Beset with fears, my weary footsteps wend,
So desolate, that I shall greet his face
With joy as a desired and welcome friend?
Oh, little matters it when we shall meet,
Upon the quiet shore, or on the sea,
If he shall lead us to the golden gate,
Dear Lord, if he shall lead us unto Thee.