Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WANDERER: PROLOGUE. PART 2, by EDWARD ROBERT BULWER-LYTTON

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THE WANDERER: PROLOGUE. PART 2, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The soul lives on. What lives on with the soul?
Last Line: A little while of what was once so sweet.
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): Travel; Journeys; Trips

THE soul lives on. What lives on with the soul?
Glimpses of something better than her best;
Truer than her truest: motion to a pole
Beyond the zones of this orb's dimness guest:
And (since life dies not with the first dead bliss)
Blind notions of some meaning moved through time,
Some purpose in the deeps of the sublime,
That stirs a pulse here, could we find out this.

Visions and noises rouse us. I discern
Even in change some comfort, O Beloved!
Suns rise and set; stars vanish and return;
But never quite the same. And life is moved
Toward new experience. Every eve and morn
Descends and springs with increase on the world.
And what is death but life in this life furled?
The outward cracks, the inward life is born.

Friends pass beyond the borders of this Known,
And draw our thoughts up after them. We say
"They are: but their relations now are done
With Nature, and the plan of night and day."
If never mortal man from this world's light
Did pass away to that surrounding gloom,
'T were well to doubt the life beyond the tomb;
But now is Truth's dark side revealed to sight.

Father of spirits! Thine all secrets be.
I bless Thee for the light Thou hast revealed,
And that Thou hidest. Part of me I see,
And part of me Thy wisdom hath concealed,
Till the new life divulge it. Lord, imbue me
With will to work in this diurnal sphere,
Knowing myself my life's day-laborer here,
Where evening brings the day's work's wages to me.

I work my work. All its results are Thine.
I know the loyal deed becomes a fact
Which Thou wilt deal with: nor will I repine
Although I miss the value of the act.
Thou carest for the creatures: and the end
Thou seest. The world unto Thy hands I leave:
And to Thy hands my life. I will not grieve
Because I know not all Thou dost intend.

Something I know. Oft, shall it come about
When every heart is full with hope for man
The horizon straight is darkened, and a doubt
Clouds all. The work the world so well began
Wastes down, and by some deed of shame is finished.
Ah yet, I will not be dismayed: nor though
The good cause flourish fair, and Freedom flow
All round, my watch beyond shall be diminished.

What seemed the triumph of the Fiend at length
Might be the effort of some dying Devil,
Permitted to put forth his fullest strength
To lose it all forever. While, the evil
Whose cloven crest our paeans float above
Might have been less than what unnoticed lies
'Neath our rejoicings. Which of us is wise?
We know not what we mourn: nor why we love.

But teach me, O Omnipotent, since strife,
Sorrow, and pain are but occurrences
Of that condition through which flows my life,
Not part of me, the immortal, whom distress
Cannot retain, to vex not thought for these:
But to be patient, bear, forbear, restrain,
And hold my spirit pure above my pain.
No star that looks through life's dark lattices,

But what gives token of a world elsewhere.
I bless Thee for the loss of all things here
Which proves the gain to be: the hand of Care
That shades the eyes from earth, and beckons near
The rest which sweetens all: the shade Time throws
On Love's pale countenance, that he may gaze
Across Eternity for better days
Unblinded; and the wisdom of all woes:

I bless Thee for the life Thou gavest, albeit
It hath known sorrow: for the sorrow's self
I bless Thee; and the gift of wings to flee it,
Led by this spirit of song, -- this ministering elf,
That to sweet uses doth unwind my pain,
And spin his palace out of poision-flowers,
To float, an impulse, through the livelong hours,
From sky to sky, on Fancy's glittering skein.

Aid me, sweet Spirit, escaping from the throng
Of those that raise the Corybantic shout,
And barbarous, dissonant cymbal's clash prolong,
In fear lest any hear the God cry out,
Now that the night resumes her bleak retreat
In these dear lands, footing the unwandered waste
Of Loss, to walk in Italy, and taste
A little while of what was once so sweet.

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