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And instantly the blood sank from his heart,
As if its very walls had caved away.

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,
And, listening fearfully, he heard once more
The low voice murmur "Rhocus!" close at hand:
Whereat he looked around him, but could see
Nought but the deepening glooms beneath the oak.
Then sighed the voice, “O, Rhœcus! nevermore
Shalt thou behold me or by day or night,

Me, who would fain have blest thee with a love
More ripe and bounteous than ever yet
Filled up with nectar any mortal heart:

But thou didst scorn my humble messenger,

And sent'st him back to me with bruised wings.
We spirits only show to gentle eyes,

We ever ask an undivided love,

And he who scorns the least of Nature's works
Is thenceforth exiled and shut out from all.
Farewell! for thou canst never see me more."

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 ! "
And Rhocus after heard no other sound,
Except the rattling of the oak's crisp leaves,
Like the long surf upon a distant shore,
Raking the sea-worn pebbles up and down.

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,
With all its bright sublimity of stars,

Deepened, and on his forehead smote the breeze:

Beauty was all around him and delight,
But from that eve he was alone on earth.

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,

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Most deeply-learned in the hollow game,
At which we now have nothing left to stake,
Albeit too wise to stake it, if we had.

But Truth will never let the heart alone

That once hath sought her, sending o'er and o'er
Her sweet and unreproachful messengers

To lure us back again and give us all,
Which we, all fresh and burning in the game,
Wherein we lose and lose with seeming gain,
Brush off impatiently with sharp rebuff,
Feeling our better instincts now no more
But as reproaches lacking other aim
Than to abridge our little snatch of bliss.
And, when we rouse at length, and feel within
The stirring of our ancient love again,

Our eyes are blinded that we cannot see

The fair benignity of unveiled Truth
That plighted us its holy troth erewhile.
Our sun is setting: we are just too late :
And so, instead of lightening by our lives
The general burden of our drooping kind,-

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Instead of being named in aftertime
With grateful reverence, as men who talked
With spirits, and the dreaded secret wrung
From out the loath lips of the sphinx of life, -
Instead of being, as all true men may,
Part of the memory of all great deeds,
The inspiration of all time to come,

We linger to our graves with empty hearts,
And add our little handful to the soil,

As valueless and frail as fallen leaves.

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