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Whether conscious or unconscious, yet Humanity's vast frame Through its ocean-sundered fibres feels the gush of joy or

shame ;

In the gain or loss of one race all the rest have equal claim.

Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the bloom

or blight,

Parts the goats upon the left hand and the sheep upon the right, And the choice goes by forever 'twixt that darkness and that

light.

Hast thou chosen, O my people, on whose party thou shalt

stand,

Ere the Doom from its worn sandals shakes the dust against our land?

Though the cause of Evil prosper, yet 't is Truth alone is strong, And, albeit she wander outcast now, I see around her throng Troops of beautiful, tall angels, to enshield her from all wrong.

Backward look across the ages, and the beacon-moments see, That, like peaks of some sunk continent, jut through Oblivion's

sea;

Not an ear in court or market for the low foreboding cry
Of those Crises, God's stern winnowers, from whose feet earth's

chaff must fly;

Never shows the choice momentous till the judgment hath passed by.

Careless seems the great Avenger; history's pages but record One death-grapple in the darkness 'twixt old systems and the

Word;

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim un

known,

Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

We see dimly in the Present what is small and what is great, Slow of faith, how weak an arm may turn the iron helm of fate, But the soul is still oracular; amid the market's din,

List the ominous stern whisper from the Delphic cave within,— "They enslave their children's children who make compromise with sin."

Slavery, the earth-born Cyclops, fellest of the giant brood, Sons of brutish Force and Darkness, who have drenched the earth with blood,

Famished in his self-made desert, blinded by our purer day,

Gropes in yet unblasted regions for his miserable prey;— Shall we guide his gory fingers where our helpless children play?

Then to side with Truth is noble when we share her wretched

crust,

Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and 't is prosperous to be

just;

Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside, Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified,

And the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.

Count me o'er earth's chosen heroes,-they were souls that stood alone,

While the men they agonized for hurled the contumelious stone, Stood serene, and down the future saw the golden beam incline To the side of perfect justice, mastered by their faith divine, By one man's plain truth to manhood and to God's supreme design.

By the light of burning heretics Christ's bleeding feet I track, Toiling up new Calvaries ever with the cross that turns not

back,

And these mounts of anguish number how each generation learned

One new word of that grand Credo which in prophet-hearts hath burned

Since the first man stood God-conquered with his face to heaven upturned.

For Humanity sweeps onward: where to-day the martyr stands,
On the morrow crouches Judas with the silver in his hands;
Far in front the cross stands ready and the crackling fagots

burn,

While the hooting mob of yesterday in silent awe return
To glean up the scattered ashes into History's golden urn.

'Tis as easy to be heroes as to sit the idle slaves

Of a legendary virtue carved upon our fathers' graves, Worshipers of light ancestral make the present light a crime;Was the Mayflower launched by cowards, steered by men behind their time?

Turn those tracks toward Past or Future, that make Plymouth rock sublime?

They were men of present valor, stalwart old iconoclasts, Unconvinced by axe or gibbet that all virtue was the Past's; But we make their truth our falsehood, thinking that hath made us free,

Hoarding it in mouldy parchments, while our tender spirits flee The rude grasp of that great Impulse which drove them across

the sea.

They have rights who dare maintain them; we are traitors to our sires,

Smothering in their holy ashes Freedom's new-lit altar-fires; Shall we make their creed our jailer? Shall we, in our haste to

slay,

From the tombs of the old prophets steal the funeral lamps

away

To light up the martyr-fagots round the prophets of to-day?

"WHAT IS SO RARE AS A DAY IN JUNE?" 423

New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;

They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;

Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims

be,

Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,

Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key.

"WHAT IS SO RARE AS A DAY IN JUNE?"

FROM "THE VISION OF SIR LAUNFAL."

And what is so rare as a day in June?

Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays :
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;

Every clod feels a stir of might,

An instinct within it that reaches and towers,

And, groping blindly above it for light,

Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;

The flush of life may well be seen

Thrilling back over hills and valleys;

The cowslip startles in meadows green,

The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean

To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,

And lets his illumined being o'errun

With the deluge of summer it receives;

His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,—
In the nice ear of nature which song is the best?

Now is the high-tide of the year,

And whatever of life hath ebbed away Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer, Into every bare inlet and creek and bay; Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it, We are happy now because God wills it; No matter how barren the past may have been, 'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green; We sit in the warm shade and feel right well How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell; We may shut our eyes, but we cannot help knowing That skies are clear and grass is growing;

The breeze comes whispering in our ear,

That dandelions are blossoming near,

That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,

That the river is bluer than the sky,

That the robin is plastering his house hard by;

And if the breeze kept the good news back,

For other couriers we should not lack;

We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,—

And hark! how clear bold chanticleer,

Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!

Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,

Everything is upward striving;

'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true

As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,'Tis the natural way of living:

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