NOT he who sings smooth songs that soothe—

The sorrow that would only weep;
There are some spirit-stains so deep
That only tears may wash away.
Not he whose lays thrill fiercely till
The soul is sick with surfeiting,
Such passion flies, and leaves its sting,
Till through the body quivering
The wearied dull pain throbs again.
Not he whose glad voice says “Rejoice!”
For whom no clouds o’ercast the sky;
Whose god is in his heaven so high
That this dull world he come not nigh:
Life is no sun-kissed optimist!
But he who Sorrow’s presence knows,
Who hears the minor chords beneath
The song of life, and feels the breath
Upon his cheek of quiet death,
Yet stirs and sings of life and love.
Who in his suffering yet can sing;
With that calm pathos in his face—
The hopeless yearning of the race—
Can chant the faith that holds its place,
Upsurging through each sore heart’s speech;
Who, though his heart bleed, onward leads;
Who knows eternal is our quest,
Yet bids us toil and strive—not rest—
Who looks life o’er and takes its best—
This is the poet to be yet!

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