FROM morn till night the old man sitteth still;
Deep quenched in darkness lie all earthly sights;
He hath not known since childhood swayed his will,
The outward shows of open-eyed delights;
But in an inner world of thought he liveth,
A deep, pure realm of praise and lowly prayer,
Where faith from sight no pension e’er receiveth,
But groweth only from the All-true and Fair.
That universal Soul who is the being,
The reason and the heart of men on earth,
Shineth so broad o’er him, that though not seeing,
He walketh where the morning hath its birth.
He travelleth where the upper springs flow on;
He heareth harmonies from angel choirs;
He seeth Uriel standing in the sun,
He dwelleth up among the heavenly fires;
And yet he loveth, as we all do love
To hear the restless hum of common life;
Though rooted in the spirit-soil above,
His leaves and flowers do bud amid the strife
Of all this weary world, and shine more fair
Than sympathies which have no inward root,
Which open fast, but shrink in bleaker air,
And dropping, leave behind no winter fruit.
But here are winter fruits and blossoms too—
Those silver hairs o’er bended shoulders curled;
That smile—that thoughtful brow—ope to the view
Some symbol of the old man’s inner world.
O who would love this outer sphere of sense,
Though steeped in joy and ruled by Beauty’s queen,
If it were purchased at the dear expense
Of losing all which souls like, his have seen?
Nay, if we judged aright, this glorious All,
Which fills, like thought, our never-doubting eyes,
Might with its firm-built grandeur, sink and fall
Before one ray of Soul-realities.
All Sub-Works of Poems (1844):
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