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 That which mystic Plato pondered,
That which Zeno heard with awe,
And the star-rapt Zoroaster
In his night-watch saw.
From the doubt and darkness springing
Of the dim, uncertain Past,
Moving to the dark still shadows
O'er the Future cast,
Early hath Life's mighty question
Thrilled within thy heart of youth,
With a deep and strong beseeching:
What and where is Truth?
Hollow creed and ceremonial,
Whence the ancient life hath fled,
Idle faith unknown to action,
Dull and cold and dead.
Oracles, whose wire-worked meanings
Only wake a quiet scorn,—
Not from these thy seeking spirit
Hath its answer drawn.
But, like some tired child at even,
On thy mother Nature's breast,
Thou, methinks, art vainly seeking
Truth, and peace, and rest.
O'er that mother's rugged features
Thou art throwing Fancy's veil,
Light and soft as woven moonbeams,
Beautiful and frail!
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