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The highest lonors that the world can boast

Are subjects far too low for my desire;

The highest beams of glory are, at most,

But dying sparkles of Thy living fire:

The loudest flames that earth can kindle be
Bi/.t nightly glowworms, if compared to Thee.

Without Thy presence, wealth is bags of cares;

Wisdom, but folly; joy, disquiet, —sadness;

Friendship is treason, and delights are snares;

Pleasures but pain, and mirth but pleasing madness: Without Thee, Lord, things be not what they be, Nor have they being when compared with Thee.

In having all things, and not Thee, what have I?

Not having Thee, what have my labors got?

Let me enjoy but Thee, what farther crave I?

And having Thee alone, what have I not?
I wish nor sea nor land; nor would I be
Possessed of heaven, heaven unpossessed of Thee.


The sleepless Hours who watch me as I lie,
Curtained with star-inwoven tapestries,

From the broad moonlight of the sky,

Fanning the busy dreams from my dim eyes,—

Waken me, when their Mother, the gray Dawn,

Tells them that dreams, and that the moon is gone.

Then I arise, and, climbing heaven's blue dome,
I walk over the mountains and the waves,

Leaving my robe upon the ocean foam;My footsteps pave the clouds with fire; the caves


Are filled with my bright presence; and the air Leaves the green earth to my embraces bare.

The sunbeams are my shafts, with which I kill
Deceit, that loves the night and fears the day;

All men who do or even imagine ill
Fly me, and from the glory of my ray

Good minds and open actions take new might,

Until diminished by the reign of night.

I feed the clouds, the rainbows, and the flowers
With their ethereal colors; the moon's globe,

And the pure stars in their eternal bowers,
Are cinctured with my power as with a robe;

Whatever lamps on earth or heaven may shine

Are portions of one power, which is mine.

I stand at noon upon the peak of heaven,
Then with unwilling steps I wander down

Into the clouds of the Atlantic even;

For grief that I depart, they weep and frown:

What look is more delightful than the smile

With which I soothe them from the western isle?

I am the eye with which the Universe
Beholds itself, and knows itself divine;

All harmony of instrument or verse,
All prophecy, all medicine, are mine,

All light of art or nature; — to my song

Victory and praise in their own right belong.


A Genial moment oft has given

What years of toil and pain,
Of long industrious toil, have striven

To win, and all in vain.

Yet count not, when thine end is won,

That labor merely lost;
Nor say it had been wiser done

To spare the painful cost.

When heaped upon the altar lie All things to feed the fire, —
One spark alighting from on high, — The flames at once aspire.

But those sweet gums and fragrant woods,

Its rich materials rare,
By tedious quest o'er lands and floods

Had first been gathered there.


A Dewdrop, falling on the wild sea wave,
Exclaimed in fear, — "I perish in this grave !91
But, in a shell received, that drop of dew
Unto a pearl of marvellous beauty grew;
And, happy now, the grace did magnify
Which thrust it forth, as it had feared, to die;—-

293 The Prioress's Tale.

Until again, " I perish quite," it said,
Torn by rude diver from its ocean bed;
O unbelieving ! — so it came to gleam
Chief jewel in a monarch's diadem.


The seed must die, before the corn appears
Out of the ground, in blade and fruitful ears.
Low must those ears by sickle's edge be lain,
Ere thou canst treasure up the golden grain.
The grain is crushed before the bread is made,
And the bread broke ere life to man conveyed.
O, be content to die, to be laid low,
And to be crushed, and to be broken so;
If thou upon God's table may'st be bread,
Life-giving food for souls an hungered!


There was in Asia, in a great city,
Amonges Christian folk a Jewery,

Sustained by a lord of that country,
For foul usure and lucre of villainy,
Hateful to Christ and to his company;

And through the street men mighten ride and wend,

For it was free, and open at either end.

A little school of Christian folk there stood

Down at the further end, in which there were Children a heape comen of Christian blood

That learned in that schoole year by year
Such manner doctrine as men used there;
This is to say, to singen and to read,
As smalle children do in their childhede.

Among these children was a widow's son,
A little clergion,1 seven years of age,

That day by day to schoole was his won2;
And eke also, whereas he saw the image
Of Christes mother, had he in usage,

As him was taught, to kneel adown, and say,

Are Maria, as he go'th by the way.

Thus hath this widow her little son ytaught
Our blissful Lady, Christes mother dear,

To worship aye, and he forgot it nought;
For sely 3 childe will alway soon lere;4
But aye when I remember on this mattere,

Saint Nicholas slant5 ever in my presence,

For he so young to Christ did reverence.

This little child his little book learning,
As he sat in the school at his primere,

He Alma Redemptoris hearde sing,

As children learned their antiphonere ;6
And as he durst, he drew him near and near

And hearkened aye the wordes and the note,

Till he the firste verse could all by rote.

Nought wist7 he what this Latin was to say,
For he so young and tender was of age;
But on a day his fellow 'gan to pray

1 Young cleric. 2 Custom. 3 Simple. 4 Learn

6 Standeth. 6 Chanting alternate verses of the Psalms

7 Knew.

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