The irresponsive silence of the land,
The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
Speak both one message of one sense to me:—Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so
Thou too aloof bound with the flawless
Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free?
What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?—And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
And sometimes I remember days of
When fellowship seemed not so far to
And all the world and I seemed much less cold,
And at the rainbow's foot lay surely gold,
And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.
Thus am I mine own prison.
Around me free and sunny and at ease:
Or if in shadow, in a shade of
Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds
And where all winds make various murmuring;
Where bees are found, with honey for the bees;
Where sounds are music, and where
Are music of an unlike fashioning.
Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew,
And smile a moment and a moment
Why can I not rejoice with you?
But soon I put the foolish fancy by:
I am not what I have nor what I do;
But what I was I am,
I am even I.
Therefore myself is that one only thingI hold to use or waste, to keep or give;
My sole possession every day I live,
And still mine own despite Time's winnowing.
Ever mine own, while moons and seasons
From crudeness ripeness mellow and sanitive;
Ever mine own, till Death shall ply his sieve;
And still mine own, when saints break grave and sing.
And this myself as king unto my KingI give, to Him Who gave Himself for me;
Who gives Himself to me, and bids me singA sweet new song of His redeemed set free;he bids me sing:
O death, where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?