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- Poems of Progress - 1/16 -


by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Preface The Land Between Love's Mirage The Need of the World The Gulf Stream Remembered Helen of Troy Lais when Young Lais when Old Existence Holiday Songs Astrolabius Completion Sleep's Treachery Art versus Cupid The Revolt of Vashti The Choosing of Esther Honeymoon Scene The Cost The Voice God's Answer The Edict of the Sex The World-child The Heights On seeing 'The House of Julia' at Herculaneum A Prayer What is Right Living? Justice Time's Gaze The Worker and the Work Art thou Alive? To-day The Ladder Who is a Christian? The Goal The Spur Awakened! Shadows The New Commandment Summer Dreams The Breaking of Chains December 'The Way' The Leader to be The Greater Love Thank God for Life Time Enough New Year's Day Life is a Privilege In an Old Art Gallery True Brotherhood The Decadent Lord, speak again My Heaven Life God's Kin Conquest The Statue Sirius At Fontainebleau The Masquerade Sympathy Intermediary Life's Car Opportunity The Age of Motored Things New Year Disarmament The Call A Little Song


When silence flees before the voice of Love, Of what expression does that god approve? Is dulcet song or flowing verse his choice, Or stately prose, made regal by his voice? Speaks Love in couplets, or in epics grand? And is Love humble, or does he command?

There is no language that Love does not speak: To-day commanding and to-morrow meek, One hour laconic and the next verbose, With hope triumphant and with doubt morose, His varying moods all forms of speech employ. To give expression to his painful joy,

To voice the phases of his joyful pain, He rings the changes on the poet's strain. Yet not in epic, epigram or verse Can Love the passion of his heart rehearse. All speech, all language, is inadequate, There are no words with Love commensurate.


Between the little Here and larger Yonder, There is a realm (or so one day I read) Where faithful spirits love-enchained may wander, Till some remembering soul from earth has fled. Then, reunited, they go forth afar, From sphere to sphere, where wondrous angels are.

Not many spirits in that realm are waiting; Not many pause upon its shores to rest; For only love, intense and unabating, Can hold them from the longer, higher quest. And after grief has wept itself to sleep, Few hearts on earth their vital memories keep.

Should I pass on, across the mystic border, Let thy love link me to that pallid land; I would not seek the heavens of finer order Until thy barque had left this coarser strand. How desolate such journeyings would be, Though straight to Him, were they not shared by thee.

Wert thou first called (dear God, how could I bear it?) I should enchain thee with my love, I know. Not great enough am I to free thy spirit From all these tender ties, and bid thee go. Nor would a soul, unselfish as thine own, Forget so soon, and speed to heaven alone.

On earth we find no joy in ways diverging; How could we find it in the worlds unseen? I know old memories from my bosom surging, Would keep thee waiting in that Land Between, Until together, side by side, we trod A path of stars, in our great search for God.


Midway upon the route, he paused athirst And suddenly across the wastes of heat, He saw cool waters gleaming, and a sweet Green oasis upon his vision burst. A tender dream, long in his bosom nursed, Spread love's illusive verdure for his feet; The barren sands changed into golden wheat; The way grew glad that late had seemed accursed.

She shone, the woman wonder, on his soul; The garden spot, for which men toil and wait; The house of rest, that is each heart's demand; But when, at last, he reached the gleaming goal, He found, oh, cruel irony of fate, But desert sun upon the desert sand.


I know the need of the world, Though it would not have me know. It would hide its sorrow deep, Where only God may go. Yet its secret it can not keep; It tells it awake, or asleep, It tells it to all who will heed, And he who runs may read. The need of the world I know.

I know the need of the world, When it boasts of its wealth the loudest, When it flaunts it in all men's eyes, When its mien is the gayest and proudest. Oh! ever it lies--it lies, For the sound of its laughter dies In a sob and a smothered moan, And it weeps when it sits alone. The need of the world I know.

I know the need of the world. When the earth shakes under the tread Of men who march to the fight, When rivers with blood are red

Poems of Progress - 1/16

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