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Veil the day's distracting sights,
Show me heaven's eternal lights.

From the darkened sky come forth
Countless stars, a wondrous birth!
So may gleams of glory dart
Through the dim abyss, my heart;

Living worlds to view be brought,
In the boundless realms of thought,
High and infinite desires,
Burning like those upper fires.

Holy truth, eternal right,
Let them break upon my sight,
Let them shine unclouded, still,
And with light my being fill.

Thou art there. Oh, let me know,
Thou art here within me too;
Be the perfect peace of God
Here as there now shed abroad.

May my soul attunèd be
To that perfect harmony,
Which, beyond the power of sound,
Fills the universe around.

William Henry Furness (1802–1896)

THE HIGHER GOOD

FATHER, I will not ask for wealth or fame,
Though once they would have joyed my carnal sense:
I shudder not to bear a hated name,
Wanting all wealth, myself my sole defense.
But give me, Lord, eyes to behold the truth;
A seeing sense that knows the eternal right;
A heart with pity filled, and gentlest ruth;
A manly faith that makes all darkness light:

Give me the power to labor for mankind;
Make me the mouth of such as cannot speak;
Eyes let me be to groping men and blind;
A conscience to the base; and to the weak
Let me be hands and feet; and to the foolish, mind;
And lead still further on such as thy kingdom seek.

Theodore Parker (1810-1860)

THE IDLER

I IDLE stand that I may find employ,
Such as my Master when He comes will give;
I cannot find in mine own work my joy,
But wait, although in waiting I must live;
My body shall not turn which way it will,
But stand till I the appointed road can find,
And journeying so his messages fulfil,
And do at every step the work designed.
Enough for me, still day by day to wait
Till Thou who form'st me find'st me too a task,
A cripple lying at the rich man's gate,
Content for the few crumbs I get to ask,
A laborer but in heart, while bound my hands
Hang idly down still waiting thy commands.

Jones Very (1813–1880]

QUESTIONINGS

HATH this world, without me wrought,
Other substance than my thought?
Lives it by my sense alone,
Or by essence of its own?
Will its life, with mine begun,
Cease to be when that is done,
Or another consciousness
With the self-same forms impress?

Doth yon fire-ball, poised in air,
Hang by my permission there?

Are the clouds that wander by
But the offspring of mine eye,
Born with every glance I cast,
Perishing when that is past?
And those thousand, thousand eyes,
Scattered through the twinkling skies,
Do they draw their life from mine,
Or of their own beauty shine?

Now I close my eyes, my ears,
And creation disappears;
Yet if I but speak the word,
All creation is restored.
Or, more wonderful, within
New creations do begin;
Hues more bright and forms more rare
Than reality doth wear
Flash across my inward sense,
Born of the mind's omnipotence.

Soul! that all informest, say!
Shall these glories pass away?
Will those planets cease to blaze
When these eyes no longer gaze?
And the life of things be o'er
When these pulses beat no more?

Thought! that in me works and lives,
Life to all things living gives -
Art thou not thyself, perchance,
But the universe in trance?
A reflection inly flung
By that world thou fanciedst sprung
From thyself-thyself a dream-
Of the world's thinking thou the theme?

Be it thus, or be thy birth
From a source above the earth-
Be thou matter, be thou mind,
In thee alone myself I find,

And through thee alone, for me,
Hath this world reality.
Therefore, in thee will I live,
To thee all myself will give,
Losing still, that I may find
This bounded self in boundless Mind.

Frederic Henry Hedge (1805–1890]

THE GREAT VOICES

A VOICE from the sea to the mountains,

From the mountains again to the sea; A call from the deep to the fountains:

O spirit! be glad and be free!

A cry from the floods to the fountains,

And the torrents repeat the glad song As they leap from the breast of the mountains:

O spirit! be free and be strong!

The pine forests thrill with emotion

Of praise as the spirit sweeps by; With a voice like the murmur of ocean

To the soul of the listener they cry.

Oh, sing, human heart, like the fountains,

With joy reverential and free; Contented and calm as the mountains, And deep as the woods and the sea.

Charles Timothy Brooks (1813–1883]

BEAUTY AND DUTY

I SLEPT, and dreamed that life was beauty;
I woke, and found that life was duty.
Was thy dream then a shadowy lie?
Toil on, sad heart, courageously,
And thou shalt find thy dream to be
A noonday light and truth to thee.

Ellen Hooper (18

THE STRAIGHT ROAD

BEAUTY may be the path to highest good,
And some successfully have it pursued.
Thou, who wouldst follow, be well warned to see
That way prove not a curvèd road to thee.
The straightest path perhaps which may be sought,
Lies through the great highway men call “I ought.”

Ellen Hooper (18

THE WAY

THEY find the way who linger where
The soul finds fullest life;
The battle brave is carried on
By all who wait, and waiting, dare
Deem each day's least that's fitly done
A victory worthy to be won,
Nor seek their gain with strife.

Sidney Henry Morse (18

INSPIRATION

LIFE of Ages, richly poured,

Love of God, unspent and free,
Flowing in the Prophet's word

And the People's liberty!

Never was to chosen race

That unstinted tide confined;
Thine is every time and place,

Fountain sweet of heart and mind!

Secret of the morning stars,

Motion of the oldest hours,
Pledge through elemental wars

Of the coming spirit's powers!

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