WHY ask for joy’s tumultuous thrill,
That suffers no increase ?
Better the motions sure and still
Of ever-deepening peace.
Better to dwell with lowly things,
And with their growth to grow;
To feel within those secret springs,
That gather cool and slow.
Born of such stillness, wells the brook,
In leafy closet dim :
Till the full silence of the nook
O’erflows into a hymn.
The little singer trips along,
In musical content;
But ever gains a fuller song,
And learns its own intent.
Gladly it spends its tuneful grace,
In hidden minstrelsy ;
Nor asks, as yet, a wider space,
But just to sing and be.
In simple service thrives its heart ; —
It waters flowerets shy,
It feels the spotted fishes dart,
It mirrors bits of sky ;
Till slipping down by hillside farms,
Its ministries enlarge ;
And in the meadow’s circling arms,
It wins a broader marge.
White lilies anchor on its breast,
A boat glides softly through,
And ever deeper grows its rest
The more it has to do.
For in its tasks it knows no haste,
Nor lets the music cease,—
Too free to keep, too calm to waste,
The largesse of its peace ;
But bears it on to outstretched lands,
Where thirsty cities wait ;
And then, at length, it understands
The fulness of its fate.
Proud ships upon its bosom ride,
It throbs with busy oars ;
It grows more nobly satisfied,
Between its widening shores ;
It gathers strength and majesty,
Yet flows with rhythmic ease ;
And the great gladness of the sea
Completes its garnered peace.
Better ? dear Peace, thou art the best!
For where thou hast thy home,
Full grows the service, deep the rest,
And Joy herself shall come !
Louisa Bushnell.