Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE CHOIR INVISIBLE, by MARY ANN EVANS



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THE CHOIR INVISIBLE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Oh, may I join the choir invisible
Last Line: Whose music is the gladness of the world.
Alternate Author Name(s): Eliot, George; Cross, Marian Lewes; Evans, Marian; Ann, Mary
Subject(s): Ambition; Creative Ability; Life Change Events; Music & Musicians; Religion; Worship; Inspiration; Creativity; Theology


O, MAY I join the choir invisible
Of those immortal dead who live again
In minds made better by their presence; live
In pulses stirred to generosity,
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn
Of miserable aims that end with self,
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars,
And with their mild persistence urge men's minds
To vaster isues.

So to live is heaven:
To make undying music in the world,
Breathing a beauteous order that controls
With growing sway the growing life of man.
So we iherit that sweet purity
For which we struggled, failed, and agonized
With widening retrospect that bred despair.
Rebellious flesh that would not be subdued,
A vicious parent shaming still its child,
Poor anxious penitence, is quick dissolved;
Its discords quenched by meeting harmonies,
Die in the large and charitable air.
And all our rarer, better, truer self,
That sobbed religiously in yearning song
That watched to ease the burden of the world
Laboriously tracing what must be,
And what may yet be better, -- saw within
A worthier image for the sanctuary,
And shaped it forth before the multitude,
Divinely human, raising worship so
To higher reverence more mixed with love,
That better self shall live till human Time
Shall fold its eyelids, and the human sky
Be gathered like a scroll within the tomb,
Unread forever.

This is life to come,
Which martyred men have made more glorious
For us, who strive to follow.

May I reach
That purest heaven, -- be to other souls
The cup of strength in some great agony
Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love,
Beget the smiles that have no cruelty,
Be the sweet prescence of a good diffused,
And in diffusion ever more intense!
So shall I join the choir invisible,
Whose music is the gladness of the world.




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