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"I strove, made head, gained ground upon the whole!" As the bird wings and sings, Let us cry "All good things
"Are ours, nor soul helps flesh more, now, than flesh helps soul!"
Therefore I summon age
Life's struggle having so far reached its term:
From the developed brute; a god though in the germ.
And I shall thereupon
Take rest, ere I be gone
Once more on my adventure brave and new:
What weapons to select, what armour to indue.
Youth ended, I shall try
Leave the fire ashes, what survives is gold.
Young, all lay in dispute; I shall know, being old.
For note, when evening shuts,
The deed off, calls the glory from the grey:
"Take it and try its worth: here dies another day."
So, still within this life,
Though lifted o'er its strife,
Let me discern, compare, pronounce at last,
"This rage was right i' the main,
"The Future I may face now I have proved the Past."
For more is not reserved
To man, with soul just nerved.
To act to-morrow what he learns to-day:
Here, work enough to watch
The Master work, and catch
Hints of the proper craft, tricks of the tool's true play.
As it was better, youth
Should strive, through acts uncouth,
Toward making, than repose on aught found made:
From strife, should know, than tempt
Further. Thou waitedest age: wait death nor be afraid!
Enough now, if the Right
Be named here, as thou callest thy hand thine own,
Subject to no dispute
From fools that crowded youth, nor let thee feel alone.
Be there, for once and all,
Severed great minds from small,
Announced to each his station in the Past!
Was I, the world arraigned,
Were they, my soul disdained,
Right? Let age speak the truth and give us peace at last!
Now, who shall arbitrate?
Ten men love what I hate,
Shun what I follow, slight what I receive;
Ten, who in ears and eyes
They this thing, and I that: whom shall my soul believe?
Not on the vulgar mass
Called "work," must sentence pass,
Things done, that took the eye and had the price;
Found straightway to its mind, could value in a trice:
But all, the world's coarse thumb
So passed in making up the main account;
All instincts immature,
All purposes unsure,
That weighed not as his work, yet swelled the man's
Thoughts hardly to be packed
Into a narrow act,
Fancies that broke through language and escaped;
All, men ignored in me,
This, I was worth to God, whose wheel the pitcher
Ay, note that Potter's wheel,
Why time spins fast, why passive lies our clay,-
When the wine makes its round,
"Since life fleets, all is change; the Past gone, seize
Fool! All that is, at all,
Jiriczek, Englische Dichter.
Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure:
That was, is, and shall be:
Time's wheel runs back or stops: Potter and clay endure.
He fixed thee mid this dance
Of plastic circumstance,
This Present, thou, forsooth, wouldst fain arrest:
To give thy soul its bent,
Try thee and turn thee forth, sufficiently impressed.
What though the earlier grooves
Around thy base, no longer pause and press?
Grow out, in graver mood, obey the sterner stress?
Look not thou down but up!
The festal board, lamp's flash and trumpet's peal,
The Master's lips a-glow!
Thou, heaven's consummate cup, what need'st thou with earth's wheel?
But I need, now as then,
Thee, God, who mouldest men;
And since, not even while the whirl was worst,
Bound dizzily,--mistake my end, to slake Thy thirst:
So, take and use Thy work:
What strain o' the stuff, what warpings past the aim!
My times be in Thy hand!
Let age approve of youth, and death complete the same!
[The Atlantic Monthly 1864.]
FEAR death?--to feel the fog in my throat,
When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
The power of the night, the press of the storm,
Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form,
For the journey is done and the summit attained,
Though a battle's to fight ere the guerdon be gained, The reward of it all.
I was ever a fighter, so-one fight more,
I would hate that death bandaged my eyes and forbore, And bade me creep past.
No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers The heroes of old,
Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's arrears
For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,
And the elements' rage, the fiend-voices that rave,
Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain,
O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,