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On His Blindness
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide, Lodged with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,—
Doth God exact day-labor, light denied,
I fondly ask:-But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve Him best: His
Is Kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er Land and Ocean without rest :-
They also serve who only stand and wait.”
Sir Launfal and the Leper
As Sir Launfal made morn through the darksome gate,
He was ware of a leper, crouched by the same, Who begged with his hand and moaned as he
And a loathing over Sir Launfal came;
The sunshine went out of his soul with a thrill,
The flesh 'neath his armor did shrink and Lessons
And midway its leap his heart stood still
Like a frozen waterfall;
For this man, so foul and bent of stature,
Rasped harshly against his dainty nature,
And seemed the one blot on the summer morn,—
So he tossed him a piece of gold in scorn.
The leper raised not the gold from the dust:
"Better to me the poor man's crust,
Better the blessing of the poor,
Though I turn me empty from his door;
That is no true alms which the hand can hold:
He gives nothing but worthless gold
Who gives from a sense of duty;
But he who gives a slender mite,
And gives to that which is out of sight,
That thread of the all-sustaining Beauty
Which runs through all and doth all unite,—
The hand cannot clasp the whole of his alms,
The heart outstretches its eager palms,
For a god goes with it and makes it store
To the soul that was starving in darkness be-
From "The Vision of Sir Launfal."
This I beheld, or dreamed it in a dream:-
There spread a cloud of dust along a plain;
And underneath the cloud, or in it, raged
A furious battle, and men yelled, and swords
Shocked upon swords and shields. A prince's
Wavered, then staggered backward, hemmed by
A craven hung along the battle's edge,
And thought," Had I a sword of keener steel-
That blue blade that the king's son bears,-but
Blunt thing!" he snapt and flung it from his
And lowering crept away and left the field.
Then came the king's son, wounded, sore bestead,
And weaponless, and saw the broken sword,
Hilt-buried in the dry and trodden sand,
And ran and snatched it, and with battle-shout
Lifted afresh he hewed his enemy down,
And saved a great cause that heroic day.
EDWARD ROWLAND SILL.
Abou Ben Adhem and the Angel
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An Angel writing in a book of gold:-
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?"-The Vision raised its
And with a look made of all sweet accord
Answered, "The names of those who love the
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still, and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."
The Angel wrote and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had
And, lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
Thou must be true thyself,
If thou the truth wouldst teach;
Thy soul must overflow, if thou
Another's soul wouldst reach!
It needs the overflow of heart
To give the lips full speech.
Think truly, and thy thoughts
Shall the world's famine feed;
Speak truly, and each word of thine
Shall be a fruitful seed;
Live truly, and thy life shall be
A great and noble creed.
The Shepherd Boy Sings in the Valley of
He that is down needs fear no fall,
He that is low, no pride;
He that is humble ever shall
Have God to be his guide.
I am content with what I have,
Little be it or much:
And, Lord, contentment still I crave,
Because Thou savest such.