Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
III. Faith: Hope: Love: Service
What I Live For
George Linnæus Banks (1821–1881)
 
I LIVE for those who love me,
  Whose hearts are kind and true,
For heaven that smiles above me,
  And waits my spirit, too;
For all the ties that bind me,        5
For all the tasks assigned me,
And bright hopes left behind me,
  And good that I can do.
 
I live to learn their story
  Who’ve suffered for my sake,        10
To emulate their glory,
  And follow in their wake;
Bards, patriots, martyrs, sages,
The noble of all ages,
Whose deeds crown history’s pages,        15
  And Time’s great volume make.
 
I live to hold communion
  With all that is divine,
To feel there is a union
  ’Twixt Nature’s heart and mine;        20
To profit by affliction,
Reap truths from fields of fiction,
And, wiser from conviction,
  Fulfil each grand design.
 
I live to hail that season,        25
  By gifted minds foretold,
When men shall rule by reason,
  And not alone by gold;
When man to man united,
And every wrong thing righted,        30
The whole world shall be lighted
  As Eden was of old.
 
I live for those who love me,
  Whose hearts are kind and true,
For heaven that smiles above me,        35
  And waits my spirit too;
For the cause that lacks assistance,
For the wrong that needs resistance,
For the future in the distance,
  And the good that I can do.        40
 
 
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