To make a lover of each looker on;
Fair gifts—not graces yet-nor rooted quite;
Fair silver vessels for the golden fruit.
But lest the lover's soul, dizzy with joy,
Lost in a perfumed cloud should lie before
The lovely and the fair, crying, ‘No more,—
I want no more,’—from the twin fountain flowed,
Deep, simple, stern, a rill of Hebrew life.
‘Lord, I am thine: do with me as thou wilt;
Set thou my feet aright; they seek thy goal.’
Thus prayed this rich-fraught soul, and in his thought
Beheld himself a pilgrim weak and poor.
A minuter analysis than it is possible to go into here would show a rare symmetry in Lowell
's character, the result of a religious discipline acting upon a pure and generous nature.
His whole life, says one who knew it all, was ‘luminous with love.’
Even in childhood his love was not the accidental, unspiritual attachment of most boys.
Though impetuous, and by no means wanting in energy of will, he was docile and modest.
The eagerness with which he pursued his objects occasioned him many trials of temper, and the self-chastisement which was thus required kept him from thinking highly of himself.
He never excused his faults, or used any sophistry in extenuating them, but felt them keenly and repented of them humbly.
Towards himself he was rigid; but though he expected every man to do his duty,—for a sense of justice is generally recognized as his distinguished trait,—he was lenient to others.
Though he was not given to the expression of religious sentiment, he lived habitually near to God, and in lowly dependence upon him. In a book of extracts, he entered, probably about the time of his leaving college, some lines of Ben Jonson
as a sort of charge to himself, which may serve as an epitome both of his character and of his career.
That by commanding first thyself thou mak'st
Thy person fit for any charge thou tak'st;
That whatsoever face thy fate puts on,
Thou shrink or start not, but be always one;
That thou think nothing great but what is good,
And from that thought strive to be understood:—
These take, and now go seek thy peace in war;
Who falls for love of God shall rise a star.