The Light Beyond,




                    I.
Though we may brood with keenest subtlety,
  Sending our reason forth, like Noah's dove,
  To know why we are here to die, hate, love,
With Hope to lead and help our eyes to see
Through labour daily in dim mystery,
  Like those who in dense theatre and hall,
  When fire breaks out or weight-strained rafters fall,
Towards some egress struggle doubtfully ;
Though we through silent midnight may address
  The mind to many a speculative page,
Yearning to solve our wrongs and wretchedness,
Yet duty and wise passiveness are won,--
  (So it hath been and is from age to age)--
Though we be blind, by doubting not the sun.
                    II.
Bear on to death serenely, day by day,
  Midst losses, gains, toil, and monotony,
  The ignorance of social apathy,
And artifice which men to men display :
Like one who tramps a long and lonely way
  Under the constant rain's inclemency,
  With vast clouds drifting in obscurity,
And sudden lightnings in the welkin grey.
To-morrow may be bright with healthy pleasure,
  Banishing discontents and vain defiance :
The pearly clouds will pass to a slow measure,
  Wayfarers walk the dusty road in joyance,
  The wide heaths spread far in the sun's alliance,
Among the furze inviting us to leisure.
                    III.
Vanity, say they, quoting him of old.
  Yet, if full knowledge lifted us serene
  To look beyond mortality's stern screen,
A reconciling vision could be told,
Brighter than western clouds or shapes of gold
  That change in amber fires,--or the demesne
  Of ever mystic sleep.  Mists intervene,
Which then would melt, to show our eyesight bold
From God a perfect chain throughout the skies,
  Like Jacob's ladder light with winged men.
And as this world, all notched to terrene eyes
  With Alpine ranges, smoothes to higher ken,
So death and sin and social miseries ;
  By God fixed as His bow o'er moor and fen.



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Last modified 5/11/95