A poem by Susanna Moodie

Oh dread uncertainty!
Life-wasting agony!
How dost thou pain the heart,
Causing such tears to start,
As sorrow never shed
O'er hopes for ever fled.
For memory hoards up joy
Beyond Time's dull alloy;
Pleasures that once have been
Shed light upon the scene,
As setting suns fling back
A bright and glowing track,
To show they once have cast
A glory o'er the past;
But thou, tormenting fiend,
Beneath Hope's pinions screened,
Leagued with distrust and pain,
Makest her promise vain;
Weaving in life's fair crown
Thistles instead of down.

Who would not rather know
Present than coming woe?
For certain sorrow brings
A healing in its wings.
The softening touch of years
Still dries the mourner's tears;
For human minds inherit
A gay, elastic spirit,
Which rises in the hour
Of trial, with such power,
That men, with wonder, find
Sorrow is less unkind;
That human hearts can bear
All evils but despair,
Or that anticipated grief
Which, for a season, mocks relief.

Uncertainty still clings
To earth's fair but fleeting things;
And mortals vainly trust
In fabrics formed of dust!
We look into life's waste,
And tread its paths in haste;
The past--for ever flown;
The present--scarce our own;
While, cold and dim, before
Stretches the shadowy shore,
The dark futurity, which lies
Beyond the glance of mortal eyes,
Wrapped in the mystic gloom
Which canopies the tomb.
But faith can pour a light
On the spirit's earthly night,
And break that sullen shroud;
As a star bursts through the cloud,
To show the upward eye
The clear, but distant, sky;
The land of joy and peace,
Where doubts and sorrows cease.

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