Perfect Character.

A poem by Hattie Howard

He lives but half who never stood
By the grave of one held dear,
And out of the deep, dark loneliness
Of a heart bereaved and comfortless,
From sorrow's crystal plentitude,
Feeling his loss severe,
Dropped a regretful tear.

Oh, life's divinest draught doth not
In the wells of joy abound!
For the purest streams are those that flow
Out of the depths of crushing woe,
As from the springs of love and thought
Hid in some narrow mound,
Making it holy ground.

He hath been blessed who sometimes knelt
Owning that God is just,
And in the stillness of cypress shade
Rosemary's tender symbol laid
Upon a cherished shrine, and felt
Strengthened in faith and trust
Over the precious dust.

So perfect character is wrought,
Rounded and beautified,
By the alchemy of that strange alloy,
The intermingling of grief and joy;
So nearer Heaven the spirit, brought
Bleeding, so sorely tried,
Finds its diviner side.

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