The Roads That Meet

Rose Hawthorne Lathrop

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One is so fair, I turn to go,
As others go, its beckoning length;
Such paths can never lead to woe,
I say in eager, early strength.
What is the goal?
Visions of heaven, wake;
But the wind's whispers round me roll:
"For you, mistake!"


One leads beneath high oaks, and birds
Choose there their joyous revelry;
The sunbeams glint in golden herds,
The river mirrors silently.
Under these trees
My heart would bound or break;
Tell me what goal, resonant breeze?
"For you, mistake!"


What is there left? The arid way,
The chilling height, whence all the world
Looks little, and each radiant day,
Like the soul's banner, flies unfurled.
May I stand here;
In this rare ether slake
My reverential lips, and fear
No last mistake?

Some spirits wander till they die,
With shattered thoughts and trembling hands;
What jarred their natures hopelessly
No living wight yet understands.
There is no goal,
Whatever end they make;
Though prayers each trusting step control,
They win mistake.

This is so true, we dare not learn
Its force until our hopes are old,
And, skyward, God's star-beacons burn
The brighter as our hearts grow cold.
If all we miss,
In the great plans that shake
The world, still God has need of this,--
Even our mistake.

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