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
A Query
Edmund Whytehead Howson (1855–1905)
 
OH the wonder of our life,
Pain and pleasure, rest and strife,
Mystery of mysteries,
Set twixt two eternities!
 
Lo, the moments come and go,        5
E’en as sparks, and vanish so;
Flash from darkness into light,
Quick as thought are quenched in night.
 
With an import grand and strange
Are they fraught in ceaseless change        10
As they post away; each one
Stands eternally alone.
 
The scene more fair than words can say,
I gaze upon and go my way;
I turn, another glance to claim—        15
Something is changed, ’t is not the same.
 
The purple flush on yonder fell,
The tinkle of that cattle-bell,
Came, and have never come before,
Go, and are gone forevermore.        20
 
Our life is held as with a vice,
We cannot do the same thing twice;
Once we may, but not again;
Only memories remain.
 
What if memories vanish too,        25
And the past be lost to view;
Is it all for nought that I
Heard and saw and hurried by?
 
Where are childhood’s merry hours,
Bright with sunshine, crossed with showers?        30
Are they dead, and can they never
Come again to life forever?
 
No—’t is false, I surely trow;
Though awhile they vanish now;
Every passion, deed, and thought        35
Was not born to come to nought!
 
Will the past then come again,
Rest and pleasure, strife and pain,
All the heaven and all the hell?
Ah, we know not: God can tell.        40
 
 
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