Where suns chase suns in rhythmic dance,
Where seeds are springing from the dust,
Where mind sways mind with spirit-glance,
High court is held, and law is just.
No hill alone, a sovereign bar;
Through space the fiery sparks are whirled
That draw and cling, and shape a star,—
That burn and cool, and form a world
Whose hidden forces hear a voice
That leads them by a perfect plan:
"Obey," it cries, "with steadfast choice,
Law shall complete what law began.
"Refuse,—behold the broken arc,
The sky of all its stars despoiled;
The new germ smothered in the dark,
The snow-pure soul with sin assoiled."
The voice still saith, "While atoms weave
Both world and soul for utmost joy,
Who sins must suffer,—no reprieve;
The law that quickens must destroy."
This poem originally ran under the byline Edith Jones, Wharton's name until 1885, when she married and took her husband's surname.