Honours - Part2 conclusion

Bereft of heaven, and of the long-loved page
  Wrought us by some who thought with death to cope.
Despairing comforters, from age to age
      Sowing the seeds of hope:

Gracious deceivers, who have lifted us
  Out of the slough where passed our unknown youth.
Beneficent liars, who have gifted us
      With sacred love of truth!

Farewell to them: yet pause ere thou unmoor
  And set thine ark adrift on unknown seas;
How wert thou bettered so, or more secure
      Thou, and thy destinies?

And if thou searchest, and art made to fear
  Facing of unread riddles dark and hard,
And mastering not their majesty austere,
      Their meaning locked and barred:

How would it make the weight and wonder less,
  If, lifted from immortal shoulders down,
The worlds were cast on seas of emptiness
      In realms without a crown.

And (if there were no God) were left to rue
  Dominion of the air and of the fire?
Then if there be a God, "Let God be true,
      And every man a liar."

But as for me, I do not speak as one
  That is exempt: I am with life at feud:
My heart reproacheth me, as there were none
      Of so small gratitude.

Wherewith shall I console thee, heart o' mine.
  And still thy yearning and resolve thy doubt?
That which I know, and that which I divine,
      Alas! have left thee out.

I have aspired to know the might of God,
  As if the story of His love was furled,
Nor sacred foot the grasses e'er had trod
      Of this redeemèd world:—

Have sunk my thoughts as lead into the deep,
  To grope for that abyss whence evil grew,
And spirits of ill, with eyes that cannot weep,
      Hungry and desolate flew;

As if their legions did not one day crowd
  The death-pangs of the Conquering Good to see!
As if a sacred head had never bowed
      In death for man—for me;

Nor ransomed back the souls beloved, the sons
  Of men, from thraldom with the nether kings
In that dark country where those evil ones
      Trail their unhallowed wings.

And didst Thou love the race that loved not Thee,
  And didst Thou take to heaven a human brow?
Dost plead with man's voice by the marvellous sea?
      Art Thou his kinsman now?

O God, O kinsman loved, but not enough!
  O man, with eyes majestic after death,
Whose feet have toiled along our pathways rough,
     Whose lips drawn human breath!

By that one likeness which is ours and Thine,
  By that one nature which doth hold us kin,
By that high heaven where, sinless, Thou dost shine
      To draw us sinners in,

By Thy last silence in the judgment-hall,
  By long foreknowledge of the deadly tree,
By darkness, by the wormwood and the gall,
      I pray Thee visit me.

Come, lest this heart should, cold and cast away,
  Die ere the guest adored she entertain—
Lest eyes which never saw Thine earthly day
      Should miss Thy heavenly reign.

Come, weary-eyed from seeking in the night
  Thy wanderers strayed upon the pathless wold,
Who wounded, dying, cry to Thee for light,
      And cannot find their fold.

And deign, O Watcher, with the sleepless brow,
  Pathetic in its yearning—deign reply:
Is there, O is there aught that such as Thou
      Wouldst take from such as I?

Are there no briers across Thy pathway thrust?
  Are there no thorns that compass it about?
Nor any stones that Thou wilt deign to trust
      My hands to gather out?

O if Thou wilt, and if such bliss might be,
  It were a cure for doubt, regret, delay—
Let my lost pathway go—what aileth me?—
      There is a better way.

What though unmarked the happy workman toil,
  And break unthanked of man the stubborn clod?
It is enough, for sacred is the soil,
      Dear are the hills of God.

Far better in its place the lowliest bird
  Should sing aright to Him the lowliest song,
Than that a seraph strayed should take the word
      And sing His glory wrong.

Friend, it is time to work. I say to thee,
  Thou dost all earthly good by much excel;
Thou and God's blessing are enough for me:
       My work, my work—farewell!
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Submitted by Madeleine Quinn on September 18, 2016

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Jean Ingelow

Jean Ingelow, was an English poet and novelist. more…

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