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"If Nature put not forth her power About the opening of the flower, Who is it that could live an hour ?
“ Then comes the check, the change, the fall. Pain rises up, old pleasures pall. There is one remedy for all.
“Yet hadst thou, thro' enduring pain, Link'd month to month with such a chain Of knitted purport, all were vain.
“ Thou hadst not between death and birth Dissolved the riddle of the earth. So were thy labour little-worth.
“ That men with knowledge merely play'd, I told thee—hardly nigher made, Tho' scaling slow from grade to grade ;
“ Much less this dreamer, deaf and blind, Named man, may hope some truth to find, That bears relation to the mind.
“For every worm beneath the moon Draws different threads, and late and soon Spins, toiling out his own cocoon.
“ Cry, faint not : either Truth is born
“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, Saw distant gates of Eden gleam, And did not dream it was a dream ;
“ 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 forbore, 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 God's glory smote him on the face.”
The sullen answer slid betwixt :
I said, “ I toil beneath the curse,
“ And that, in seeking to undo One riddle, and to find the true I knit a hundred others new :