Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

A Tribute

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Blinded I groped--you gave me sight.
Perplexed I turned--you sent me light.
You speak unto a thousand ears:
I pay you tribute in hid tears.
I pay you homage in the hopes
That rise to scale life's scathèd slopes.
I give you gratitude in this:
That, midway on the precipice
You never trod and never saw,
Where air you never drank, strikes raw
And wan upon the wasted breath,
And gulfs you never passed, gape death,
And crags you gained some sunlit way
Frown threatening over me to-day,--
That here with bruisèd hand I cling,
Because I heard you yonder sing
With those who conquer. If through joy,
Then deeper be our shame who toy
And loiter in the scourging rain,
And did not pass by strength of pain.
Laggard below, I reach to bless
You who are King of happiness;
You are the victor, you the brave,
Who could not stoop to be her slave.
Downward to me, rebuking, fling
My privilege of suffering.
I take and listen. Teach me. See!
Nearer than you, I ought to be;
Nearer the height man never trod,
Nearer the veilèd face of God.
I ought, and am not. Comrade! be
Unconscious captain unto me.
Unknowing, beckon and command:
I answer you with unseen hand.
You read in vain these lines between,
And smiling, wonder whom I mean.

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Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward