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Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ; But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be a hero in the strife !
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead ! Act, — act in the living Present !
Heart within, and God o'erhead !
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us
Footsteps on the sands of time;
Footsteps, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
THE REAPER AND THE FLOWERS.
THERE is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen, He reaps
the bearded grain at a breath, And the flowers that grow between.
Shall I have nought that is fair, saith he:
Have nought but the bearded grain ? Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,
I will give them all back again.
He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,
He kissed their drooping leaves ; It was for the Lord of Paradise
He bound them in his sheaves.
My Lord has need of these flowerets gay,
The Reaper said, and smiled : Dear tokens of the earth are they,
Where he was once a child.
They shall all bloom in fields of light,
Transplanted by my care,
These sacred blossoms wear.
And the mother gave, in tears and pain,
The flowers she most did love; She knew she should find them all again
In the fields of light above.