Within the Heart

BUILT as in dream, yet firmly wrought,
The starry, shadowed temple grew ;
With flowering columns high, of thought,
And heavenward span of arch, wherethrough
Fair visions, with sweet color fraught,
Like angels lightly hovering flew.
By day, by night, it rose aloft,—
From firm resolves within the brain,
Like chiseled stone, though murmuring oft
At toil, the toiler might complain ;
For Meekness, with her whisper soft,
Aroused him to the work again.
None saw the sanctuary reared ;
Even to the builder it was veiled ;
And he, in prayer low bending, feared
His effort worthless; still bewailed
That, longing for a shrine endeared
Within his heart, he yet had failed.
But every flash of light from dark,
And every little deed well done,
And every supernatural spark
From the pure world beyond the sun,
Lent to his outline clearer mark,
And lit the pinnacle well-nigh won.
For all the fibres of his mind
Sprang upward in strong lines of truth ;
And all the splendor God designed
Was mingled with his human ruth,
Till his whole being seemed entwined
With him who giveth joy to youth.
So grew the fane his heart within.
The Presence dwelt there: holy fire
Burned where a wreathing incense thin
Like yearning souls rose higher, higher,—
The utmost altar of heaven to win,
And quench, in God’s will, man’s desire.
Each thought of his, a buttress strong, The inner temple’s wall kept whole.
His heart was roofed with scorn of wrong;
His faith like steepled bells would roll
Alarm. His words were like the song
And organ-music of the soul.
This is the story of a man
Humble and striving, worn and faint,
In whom his fellows did but scan
His faults, and touch the human taint.
He died, and showed the spirit’s plan.
We saw the man ; God saw the saint.
George Parsons Lathrop.