When began our epic human course,
out the riven hand of life's true source,
destiny was in each atom fixed,
that though from man to God angels were betwixt,
we who from the clay were lowly made,
would, bearing heaven's stamp, in time quick trade,
this life that e'en if sin did rot and spoil,
for ascended glory at the right hand royal.
This darkened vale, which does with tears oft' fill,
where life while moving seems more in death yet still,
will wind, though deeper's dug the gorge to Hell,
to open range with emerald fields and fragrant blossom smell,
to places where the sun knows no setting hour,
and its beams turn the dew a never fallen shower.
Here we spend for gain that leaves us ever poor,
bound by native impulse ne'er content with more,
and much as we with cross do seek it to resist,
we find it a chronic plague determined to persist;
so we beg, as him whom Dives despised,
that while so worthless ragged we would, at least, by Him be prized.
Up and step, ye, pilgrim, as your weighted care does show you,
for despite the dust of death that clings to cloth or shoe,
the way by blinded eyes of faith you walk
will surely lead to Him of whom you sing and unapologetic talk,
who did Himself assume for none but others' sake,
all that does your conscience torture or causes heart to ache.
He gives by measure strength and grace peculiar to each season,
and fills your pockets with the gold of promise rather than the bill of reason;
He makes your limbs, so feebled limp and languished weak,
to be more mighty than Ulysses and yet like Moses meek;
for eons 'fore the light God from darkness drew,
already, when He our race conceived, did then make all things new.
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