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     A seed of sunshine that doth leaven
Our earthly dulness with the beams of stars,
     And glorify our clay
With light from fountains elder than the Day;
     A conscience more divine than we,
A gladness fed with secret tears,
     A vexing, forward-reaching sense
Of some more noble permanence;
     A light across the sea,
Which haunts the soul and will not let it be,
     Still glimmering from the heights of undegenerate years.


Whither leads the path
     To ampler fates that leads?
Not down through flowery meads,
     To reap an aftermath
Of youth's vainglorious weeds,
     But up the steep, amid the wrath
And shock of deadly-hostile creeds,
     Where the world's best hope and stay
By battle's flashes gropes a desperate way,
     And every turf the fierce foot clings to bleeds.
Peace hath her not ignoble wreath,
     Ere yet the sharp, decisive word
Reddens the cannon's lips, and while the sword
     Dreams in its easeful sheath:
But some day the live coal behind the thought,
     Whether from Baal's stone obscene,
Or from the shrine serene
     Of God's pure altar brought,
Bursts up in flame; the war of tongue and pen
     Learns with what deadly purpose it was fraught,
And, helpless in the fiery passion caught,
     Shakes all the pillared state with shock of men:
Some day the soft Ideal that we wooed
     Confronts us fiercely, foe-beset, pursued,
And cries reproachful, ‘Was it, then, my praise,
     And not myself was loved? Prove now thy truth;

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