Something Left Undone

A poem

Labor with what zeal we will,
Something still remains undone,
Something uncompleted still,
Waits the rising of the sun.

By the bedside, on the stair,
At the threshold, near the gates,
With its menace or its prayer,
Like a mendicant it waits:

Waits, and will not go away, —
Waits, and will not be gainsaid.
By the cares of yesterday
Each to-day is heavier made,

Till at length it is, or seems,
Greater than our strength can bear, —
As the burden of our dreams,
Passing on us everywhere;

And we stand from day to day
Like the dwarfs of times gone by,
Who, as Northern legends say,
On their shoulders held the sky.