On every height there lies repose--Goethe.
An angel with a voice like summer show'rs,
Or woodbird melodies in tranquil hours,
Brought me one day a wondrous, radiant rose
Called in those happy isles but this: Repose.
Its fragrance was the balm of early flow'rs,
Fresh with the magic of the Spring's new pow'rs;
Its petals quivered with a soothing trill,
Like the soft murmur of a mountain rill.
Its hues were exquisite as dawning skies
When the first splendor greets the watcher's eyes,
Or as the sea-shell seen through silver spray,
Or as the last bright tint of fading day.
The angel said: "Not now may this thine be,
I only came to offer it to thee;
Not as a gift but as a hard-earned meed,
I give it to all those who feel its need."
One moment fast I held it, and a light
Like to an aureole, gleamed golden-white
O'er all around; while blended echoes clear,
Stealing in unison, fell on my ear.
"How may I gain this priceless flow'r?" I cried.
The angel in a flute-like voice replied,
"Neither by works nor penance, prayer nor pain,
Canst thou this rare celestial flower gain.
"But when love of mankind and duty flow
In one all-perfect song, one golden glow,
When purest echoes soar from purest aims,
Then will I come once more to head thy claims."
The angel vanished on a sunlit cloud,
But still his words were speaking to me loud.
I bowed my head, resolved to claim the rose
Called in those happy isles but this: Repose