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"Cry, faint not, climb: the summits slope Beyond the furthest flights of hope, Wrapt in dense cloud from base to cope.
"Sometimes a little corner shines,
"I will go forward, sayest thou,
"If straight thy track, or if oblique, Thou know'st not. Shadows thou dost strike, Embracing cloud, Ixion-like;
"And owning but a little more
"Than angels. Cease to wail and brawl! Why inch by inch to darkness crawl? There is one remedy for all."
"O dull, one-sided voice," said I, "Wilt thou make everything a lie,
To flatter me that I may die?
"I know that age to age succeeds, Blowing a noise of tongues and deeds, A dust of systems and of creeds.
"I cannot hide that some have striven, Achieving calm, to whom was given The joy that mixes man with Heaven :
"Who, rowing hard against the stream,
"But heard, by secret transport led, Ev'n in the charnels of the dead, The murmur of the fountain-head
"Which did accomplish their desire, Bore and forebore, and did not tire, Like Stephen, an unquenched fire.
"He heeded not reviling tones, Nor sold his heart to idle moans,
Tho' cursed and scorn'd, and bruised with stones:
"But looking upward, full of grace,
He pray'd, and from a happy place
The sullen answer slid betwixt : "Not that the grounds of hope were fix'd, The elements were kindlier mix'd."
I said, "I toil beneath the curse,
"And that, in seeking to undo
One riddle, and to find the true,
"Or, that this anguish fleeting hence, Unmanacled from bonds of sense, Be fix'd and froz'n to permanence:
"For I go, weak from suffering here; Naked I go, and void of cheer: What is it that I may not fear?"
"Consider well," the voice replied, "His face, that two hours since hath died; Wilt thou find passion, pain, or pride?
"Will he obey when one commands?
Or answer should one press his hands? He answers not, nor understands.
"His palms are folded on his breast: There is no other thing express'd But long disquiet merged in rest.
"His lips are very mild and meek:
Tho' one should smite him on the cheek, And on the mouth, he will not speak.
"His little daughter, whose sweet face, He kiss'd, taking his last embrace, Becomes dishonor to her race
"His sons grow up that bear his name, Some grow to honor, some to shame, But he is chill to praise or blame.
“He will not hear the north-wind rave, Nor, moaning, household shelter crave, From winter rains that beat his grave.
High up the vapors fold and swim;
"If all be dark, vague voice," I said, "These things are wrapt in doubt and dread, Nor canst thou show the dead are dead.
"The sap dries up: the plant declines.
"I found him when my years were few;
"From grave to grave the shadow crept:
"The simple senses crowned his head :
Why, if man rot in dreamless ease, Should that plain fact, as taught by these, Not make him sure that he shall cease?
"Who forged that other influence,
"He owns the fatal gift of eyes, That read his spirit blindly wise, Not simple as a thing that dies.
“Here sits he shaping wings to fly: His heart forebodes a mystery: He names the name Eternity.
"That type of Perfect in his mind In Nature can he nowhere find. He sows himself on every wind.
"He seems to hear a Heavenly Friend And thro' thick veils to apprehend A labor working to an end.
"The end and the beginning vex His reason many things perplex, With motions, checks, and counterchecks.
"He knows a baseness in his blood At such strange war with something good, He may not do the thing he would.
"Heaven opens inward, chasms yawn, Vast images in glimmering dawn, Half shown, are broken and withdrawn.
"Ah! sure within him and without, Could his dark wisdom find it out, There must be answer to his doubt.
“But thou canst answer not again.
"The doubt would rest, I dare not solve. In the same circle we revolve. Assurance only breeds resolve."
As when a billow, blown against,