Can life's best consciousness of joy
Quite charm the soul without alloy?
Or will its hidden depths be stirred
All unawares, by some chance word,
To deep regret or nameless pain,
With fev'rish yearning in its train?
Ay! as the shadows fleck the grass
When through his courts the Sun doth pass,
So in the measure Life must dole
To th' insatiate, asking soul,
Shade gives to bloom its best relief,
Joy comes the sweeter after grief.
Each struggle toward a clearer light,
Each noble impulse unto right
Makes struggle easy, effort grand;
Lo! when we seize with eager hand
The regal rose and meet the thorn,
We heed not though our flesh be torn.
For life's best joy may not all be
Intense delight though e'er so free
43From hint of sorrow, but the calm
That soothes the spirit, like a psalm
Of benediction floating by
In strains serenest caught on high.