THE wish behind the thought is the soul’s star
Of faith, and out of earth we build our heaven
Life to each unschooled child of time has given
A fairy wand, with which he thinks to unbar
The dark gate to a region vast and far,
Where all is gained at length for which he has striven,
All loss requited, all offenses shriven,
All toil o’erpassed, effaced each battle-scar.
But ah, what heaven of rest could countervail
The ever-widening thought, the endless stress
Of action, whereinto the heart is born ?
What sphere so blessèd it. could over-bless
With sweets the soul, when all such gifts must fail
If from its chosen work that soul were torn ?


Not for a rapture unalloyed I ask ;
Not for a recompense for all I miss.
A banquet of the gods in heavenly bliss,
A realm in whose warm sunshine I may bask,
Life without discipline or earnest task,
Could ill repay the unfinished work of this;
Nay, e’en to clasp some long-lost Beatrice
In bowers of Paradise, the mortal mask
Dropped from her face, now glorified and bright.
But I would fain take up what here I left
All crude and incomplete ; would toil and strive
To regain the power of which I am bereft
By slow decay ami death, with fuller light
To aid the larger life that may survive.
Christopher Pearse Cranch.