A Word with Despondency.

‘ Raise thine eyes, raise thine head,1
Govern the grief thy soul that wrings ;2
Of all on this rocking earth that tread,3
Man is the noblest of breathing things.4
Shame not the sunshine with moody brow ;5
Strengthen thy heart6
For a manlier part,7
And look like a king, as thou art, below.’8
I say not but others have sorrows as great,9
But I am weak, and they weigh me down ;10
I have wrestled against the ills of fate,11
But not for me is the victor’s crown.12
My heart is aching with many a wound ;13
I am weary and faint ;14
I am well content15
To lay me down and die on the ground.’16
Knowest thou not that the spirit of Ill17
Goes forth through the world with chainèd feet,18
That though he may wreak his vengeful will19
To trouble and torture, all he meet,20
Yet he is but a slave, whose work and way21
Is traced by a power22
Who appoints his hour,23
And gives him to chasten, but seldom to slay ?’24
Lost in the forest, wrecked on the seas,25
Warring or passive, in hope or grief,26
Men suffer and sink : what matter to these27
Though sterner endurance might bring relief ?28
Our sinews can bear but a measured strain ;29
Through the torturing night30
We watch for the light,31
But die ere sunrise, o’er matched with pain !’32
Small were thy loss, should the Fates be hard ;33
Thou diest like a warrior, sword in hand,34
Great will thy gain be, and bright thy reward,35
If thou in the evil days dost stand.36
Tend thou Faith’s lamp with a vigilant care ;37
When skies are most dark,38
It shall yield thee its spark,39
Nor fail till the morning breaks on the air.’40