WHO but has seen
Once in his life, when youth and health ran high,
The fair, clear face of truth
Grow dark to his eye ?
Who but has known
Cold mists of doubt and icy questionings
Creep round him like a nightmare, blotting out
The sight of better things.
A hopeless hour,
When all the voices of the soul are dumb,
When o'er the tossing seas
No ligh may come,
When God and right
Are gone, and seated on the empty throne
Are dull philosophies and words of wind,
Making His praise their own.
Better than this,
The burning sins of youth, the old man's greed,
Than thus to live inane ;
To sit and read,
And with blind brain
Daily to treasure up a deadly doubt,
And live a life from which the light has fled,
And faith's pure fire gone out.
Until at last,
For some blest souls, but never here for all,
Burns out a sudden light,
And breaks the thrall,
And doubt has fled,
And the soul rises, with a clearer sight
For this its pain, its sorrow, its despair,
To God and truth and right.
Plead we for those
Gently and humbly, as befitteth men
On whom the same chill shade
Broods now as then.
So shall they learn
How an eternal wisdom rules above,
And all the cords of Being ar bound fast
To an unfailing love.