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Where rests the secret? Where the keys
Of the old death-bolted mysteries?
Alas! the dead retain their trust;
Dust hath no answer from the dust.
The great enigma still unguessed,
Unanswered the eternal quest;
I gather up the scattered rays
Of wisdom in the early days,
Faint gleams and broken, like the light
Of meteors in a northern night,
Betraying to the darkling earth
The unseen sun which gave them birth;
I listen to the sibyl's chant,
The voice of priest and hierophant;
I know what Indian Kreeshna saith,
And what of life and what of death
The demon taught to Socrates;
And what, beneath his garden-trees
Slow pacing, with a dream-like tread,
The solemn-thoughted Plato said;
Nor lack I tokens, great or small,
Of God's clear light in each and all,
While holding with more dear regard
The scroll of Hebrew seer and bard,
The starrypages promise-lit
With Christ's Evangel over-writ,
Thy miracle of life and death,
O Holy One of Nazareth!
On Aztec ruins, gray and lone,
The circling serpent coils in stone,—
Type of the endless and unknown;
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