Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

Of A Family Of Reformers

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Push the bursting buds away,
Throw aside the ripened roses,
Hush the low-voiced waters' play,
Where the weary sun reposes
With his head upon his hand,
Grave and grand!
Now I stand,
And shade my eyes to see
What life shall mean to me.


Cut the silver-hearted mist
Stealing softly down the valley;
Blot me out the purple, kissed
By phantoms crowned in gold, that rally
Merrily upon the land,
Gay and grand.
Here I stand,
And turn my eyes to see
What life may mean to me.


There seems--a path across a hill,
But little worn (but little lonely),
A climb into the twilight still;
There seems--a midnight watch, and only
Through the dark a low command
(Grave and grand),
"Still you stand,
And strain your eyes to see
What life to you shall be."


The binding up of bruiséd reéds
Of thought and act; the steady bearing
Out of scorned purposes to deeds,
The rest of strife; the doubt of daring,--
The hope that He will understand
Why my hand
(Though I stand)
Trembles at my eyes to see
What else life means to me.


The dropping of love's golden fruit,
The slowly builded walls of distance,
The outstretched hand, the meeting foot,
Withdrawn in doubt, and drear, late chance
Of cooling autumn; wind and sand
On the land.--
But I stand,
And brush my tears to see
All that life means to me.


The honest choice of good or ill,
A heart of marble, prayer, and fire,
The strength to do, the power to will
From earth's reluctance, Heaven's desire,
And God's step upon the land
(Grave and grand).
Glad I stand
And lift my eyes to see
The life He sends to me.

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Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward