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The place was dark, unfurnitured, and mean;
Help came but slowly : surely no man yet
Such earnest natures are the fiery pith,
O Truth! O Freedom ! how are ye still born
We stride the river daily at its spring,
O small beginnings ! ye are great and strong,
James Russell Lowell.
My little maiden of four years old
(No myth, but a genuine child is she, With her bronze-brown eyes, and her curls of gold)
Came, quite in disgust, one day to me.
Rubbing her shoulder with rosy palm,
As the loathsome touch seemed yet to thrill her, She cried, “O mother! I found on my arm
A horrible, crawling caterpillar!”
And with mischievous smile she scarce could smother,
Yet a glance in its daring, half-awed and shy, She added : “While they were about it, mother,
I wish they'd just finished the butterfly!”
They were words to the thought of the soul that turns
From the coarser form of a partial growth, Reproaching the infinite Patience that yearns
With an unknown glory to crown them both.
Ah! look thou largely with lenient eyes
On whatso beside thee may creep and cling For the possible beauty that underlies
The passing phase of the meanest thing.
What if God's angels, whose waiting love
Beholdeth our pitiful life below From the holy hight of their heaven above, Couldn't bear with the worm till the wings should grow!
GOOD DEEDS CAN NEVER DIE.
God is building here a temple ;
Day by day its walls arise :
And its top shall reach the skies.
In the structure finds a place;
Fashions all with heavenly grace.
Patient servant of the Saviour,
Humble toiler for the right,
In the fierce and constant fight,
Thou canst never fail nor lose
Blocks which he will not refuse.
Hast thou raised a prostrate brother?
Hast thou saved a soul from sin ? Though unknown, despised, forgotten,
May thy work of love have been, God has wrought it in the temple ;
It is whiter than the snow, Brighter than the flushing ruby,
Purer than the diamond's glow.
Time hath now no power to mar it;
'Tis immortal as thy soul; It shall be a thing of beauty
While eternal ages roll.
And the temple is complete,
Making all thy joy more sweet.