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As I had slidden down and fallen afar, “ Past even the presence of my former self, “Grasping the while for stay at facts which snap, "Till I am found away from my own world, “ Feeling for foot-hold through a blank profound, Along with unborn people in strange lands, “Who say—I hear said or conceive they say, Was John at all, and did he say he saw? “Assure us, ere we ask what he might see!' “And how shall I assure them? Can they share “_They, who have flesh, a veil of youth and strength About each spirit, that needs must bide its time, “Living and learning still as years assist “Which wear the thickness thin, and let man see“With me who hardly am withheld at all, “But shudderingly, scarce a shred between, “Lie bare to the universal prick of light? “ Is it for nothing we grow old and weak, “We whom God loves? When pain ends, gain ends

too. “To me, that story—ay, that Life and Death “Of which I wrote ‘it was'—to me, it is; “—Is, here and now: I apprehend nought else. “Is not God now i' the world His power first made? “Is not His love at issue still with sin “Visibly when a wrong is done on earth? “Love, wrong, and pain, what see I else around? “ Yea, and the Resurrection and Uprise “To the right hand of the throne—what is it beside, “When such truth, breaking bounds, o'erfloods my

soul, And, as I saw the sin and death, even so “See I the need yet transiency of both, “The good and glory consummated thence? “I saw the power; I see the Love, once weak, “Resume the Power: and in this word 'I see,' “Lo, there is recognized the Spirit of both “That moving o'er the spirit of man, unblinds

“ His eye and bids him look. These are, I see; “But ye, the children, His beloved ones too, “Ye need,—as I should use an optic glass “I wondered at erewhile, somewhere i' the world, “It had been given a crafty smith to make; “A tube, he turned on objects brought too close, “Lying confusedly insubordinate “For the unassisted eye to master once: Look through his tube, at distance now they lay, “Become succinct, distinct, so small, so clear! Just thus, ye needs must apprehend what truth “I see, reduced to plain historic fact, “Diminished into clearness, proved a point “And far away: ye would withdraw your sense From out eternity, strain it upon time, “Then stand before that fact, that Life and Death, “Stay there at gaze, till it dispart, dispread, “As though a star should open out, all sides, "Grow the world on you, as it is my world. “For life, with all it yields of joy and woe. And hope and fear,believe the aged friend, “Is just our chance o' the prize of learning love, “How love might be, hath been indeed, and is; And that we hold thenceforth to the uttermost “Such prize despite the envy of the world, And, having gained truth, keep truth: that is all. “But see the double way wherein we are led, “How the soul learns diversely from the flesh! “With flesh, that hath so little time to stay, And yields mere basement for the soul's emprise, “Expect prompt teaching. Helpful was the light, And warmth was cherishing and food was choice To every man's flesh, thousand years ago, As now to yours and mine; the body sprang At once to the height, and stayed: but the soul,-

no! “Since sages who, this noontide, meditate “In Rome or Athens, may descry some point


“Of the eternal power, hid yestereve; “And, as thereby the power's whole mass extends, “So much extends the æther floating o'er, “The love that tops the might, the Christ in God.. “Then, as new lessons shall be learned in these “Till earth's work stop and useless time run out, “So duly, daily, needs provision be “For keeping the soul's prowess possible, “Building new barriers as the old decay, “Saving us from evasion of life's proof, “Putting the question ever, ‘Does God love, "And will ye hold that truth against the world?' Ye know there needs no second proof with good “Gained for our flesh from any earthly source: “We might go freezing, ages,—give us fire, “Thereafter we judge fire at its full worth, “And guard it safe through every chance, ye know! “That fable of Prometheus and his theft, “How mortals gained Jove's fiery flower, grows

old “(I have been used to hear the pagans own) “And out of mind; but fire, howe'er its birth, “Here is it, precious to the sophist now Who laughs the myth of Æschylus to scorn, As precious to those satyrs of his play, “Who touched it in gay wonder at the thing. “While were it so with the soul,—this gift of truth “Once grasped, were this our soul's gain safe, and

sure “To prosper as the body's gain is wont,-. “Why, man's probation would conclude, his earth “Crumble; for he both reasons and decides, “Weighs first, then chooses : will he give up fire “For gold or purple once he knows its worth? “Could he give Christ up were His worth as plain? “Therefore, I say, to test man, the proofs shift, “Nor may he grasp that fact like other fact, “And straightway in his life acknowledge it,

Is gained Jous and his there, ye know!

“As, say, the indubitable bliss of fire. “Sigh ye, ' It had been easier once than now'? To give you answer I am left alive; “Look at me who was present from the first! “Ye know what things I saw; then came a test, “My first, befitting me who so had seen: “Forsake the Christ thou sawest transfigured, Him “Who trod the sea and brought the dead to life? “What should wring this from thee!'--ye laugh

and ask. “What wrung it? Even a torchlight and a noise, “The sudden Roman faces, violent hands, And fear of what the Jews might do! Just that, “And it is written, I forsook and fled;" “There was my trial, and it ended thus. “Ay, but my soul had gained its truth, could grow “Another year or two, what little child, “What tender woman that had seen no least “Of all my sights, but barely heard them told, “Who did not clasp the cross with a light laugh, “Or wrap the burning robe round, thanking God? Well, was truth safe for ever, then? Not so. Already had begun the silent work Whereby truth, deadened of its absolute blaze, “Might need love's eye to pierce the o'erstretched

doubt. “Teachers were busy, whispering ‘All is true “As the aged ones report; but youth can reach “Where age gropes dimly, weak with stir and

strain, And the full doctrine slumbers till to-day.' “Thus, what the Roman's lowered spear was found, “A bar to me who touched and handled truth, “Now proved the glozing of some new shrewd

tongue, “This Ébion, this Cerinthus or their mates, “Till imminent was the outcry 'Save our Christ!' “Whereon I stated much of the Lord's life

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And may weakness whicinside this grope sun,

“Forgotten or misdelivered, and let it work. “Such work done, as it will be, what comes next? “What do I hear say, or conceive men say, Was John at all, and did he say he saw? Assure us, ere we ask what he might see!' “Is this indeed a burthen for late days, “And may I help to bear it with you all, “Using my weakness which becomes your strength? “For if a babe were born inside this grot, Grew to a boy here, heard us praise the sun, Yet had but yon sole glimmer in light's place,“One loving him and wishful he should learn, “Would much rejoice himself was blinded first "Month by month here, so made to understand “How eyes, born darkling, apprehend amiss: “I think I could explain to such a child “There was more glow outside than gleams he

caught, “Ay, nor need urge 'I saw it, so believe!' “It is a heavy burthen you shall bear “In latter days, new lands, or old grown strange, Left without me, which must be very soon. “What is the doubt, my brothers? Quick with it! “I see you stand conversing, each new face, “Either in fields, of yellow summer eves, “On islets yet unnamed amid the sea; “Or pace for shelter 'neath a portico “Out of the crowd in some enormous town “Where now the larks sing in a solitude; “Or muse upon blank heaps of stone and sand “Idly conjectured to be Ephesus: “And no one asks his fellow any more “Where is the promise of His coming?' but Was He revealed in any of His lives, “As Power, as Love, as Influencing Soul?' “Quick, for time presses, tell the whole mind out, “And let us ask and answer and be saved!

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