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And instantly the blood sank from his heart,
Without a word he turned, and, rushing forth,
Ran madly through the city and the gate,
And o'er the plain, which now the wood's long shade, By the low sun thrown forward broad and dim, Darkened wellnigh unto the city's wall.
Quite spent and out of breath he reached the tree,
Me, who would fain have blest thee with a love
But thou didst scorn my humble messenger,
And sent'st him back to me with bruised wings.
We ever ask an undivided love,
And he who scorns the least of Nature's works
Then Rhocus beat his breast, and groaned aloud, And cried, "Be pitiful! forgive me yet
This once, and I shall never need it more!" "Alas!" the voice returned, " 't is thou art blind,
Not I unmerciful; I can forgive,
But have no skill to heal thy spirit's eyes;
Only the soul hath power o'er itself."
With that again there murmured "Nevermore ! "
The night had gathered round him: o'er the plain
The city sparkled with its thousand lights,
And sounds of revel fell upon his ear
Harshly and like a curse; above, the sky,
Deepened, and on his forehead smote the breeze:
Beauty was all around him and delight,
So in our youth we shape out noble ends, And worship Beauty with such earnest faith As but the young, unwasted heart can know, And, haply wandering into some good deed, Win for our souls a moment's sight of Truth. Then the sly world runs up to us and smiles, And takes us by the hand and cries "Well met! Come play with me at dice; one lucky throw, And all my power and glory shall be thine, Stake but thy heart upon the other side! " So we turn gayly in, and by degrees Lose all our nature's broad inheritance, The happiness content with homely things, The wise simplicity of honest faith, The unsuspecting gentleness of heart,The open-handed grace of Charity,The love of Beauty, and the deathless hope To be her chosen almoner on earth,
And we rise up at last with wrinkled brows,
Most deeply-learned in the hollow game,
But Truth will never let the heart alone
That once hath sought her, sending o'er and o'er
To lure us back again and give us all,
Our eyes are blinded that we cannot see
The fair benignity of unveiled Truth
Instead of being named in aftertime
We linger to our graves with empty hearts,
As valueless and frail as fallen leaves.