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[136] Thus through the world, like bolt and blast,
And scourging fire, thy words have passed.
Clouds break,—the steadfast heavens remain;
Weeds burn,—the ashes feed the grain!

But whoso strives with wrong may find
Its touch pollute, its darkness blind;
And learn, as latent fraud is shown
In others' faith, to doubt his own.

With dream and falsehood, simple trust
And pious hope we tread in dust;
Lost the calm faith in goodness,—lost
The baptism of the Pentecost!

Alas!—the blows for error meant
Too oft on truth itself are spent,
As through the false and vile and base
Looks forth her sad, rebuking face.

Not ours the Theban's charmed life;
We come not scathless from the strife!
The Python's coil about us clings,
The trampled Hydra bites and stings!

Meanwhile, the sport of seeming chance,
The plastic shapes of circumstance,
What might have been we fondly guess,
If earlier born, or tempted less.

And thou, in these wild, troubled days,
Misjudged alike in blame and praise,
Unsought and undeserved the same
The skeptic's praise, the bigot's blame;—

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