By Robert Laurence Binyon
And were they but for this, those passionate schemes
Of joy, that I have nursed? indeed for this
That longings, day and night, have filled my dreams?
Now it has come, the hour of bliss,
How different it seems!
So thought I bitterly: but on my bed
As I lay lone and restless, in my ear,
Falling from some far place of peace o’erhead
Through the still dark, I seemed to hear
These accents softly shed:
“Wouldst thou then, child, from this invading pain
Find refuge, and relax thy suffering will
In tears? To peace wouldst thou indeed attain?
Remember all thy courage; still
True to thyself remain!
“What is it to thee, if some wished delight.
That from the future beckoned thee, at last
Comes changed, its former glory faded quite?
Fly the perfidious Hours; keep fast
Within, the springs of light!
“What is it to thee, if in some dear mind
Another is remembered, more than thou?
Quench that poor envy; let no gazer find
Aught in thine acts or on thy brow
But what is sweet and kind!
“For how shall that pure spirit, whom vain things flee,
Whom passion’s ebbs and floods delight not, Love
The consolation of the world, if he
Out of his course so lightly move,
Immortal and eternal be?
“Take courage! peace at last and joy attend
The true–fixt heart that mocks Time’s envious power;
The heart that, tender even to the end,
Exacts not joy from any hour,
Nor love from any friend.”
Alas! how oft I have wished that voice had spared
Its counsel stern, nor pointed me through tears
My path! How oft, to feet stumbling and scarred,
That path impossible appears;
Which yet is only hard.