Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Religious Poems
The Clear Vision
 
I DID but dream. I never knew
  What charms our sternest season wore.
Was never yet the sky so blue,
  Was never earth so white before.
Till now I never saw the glow        5
Of sunset on yon hills of snow,
And never learned the bough’s designs
Of beauty in its leafless lines.
 
Did ever such a morning break
  As that my eastern windows see?        10
Did ever such a moonlight take
  Weird photographs of shrub and tree?
Rang ever bells so wild and fleet
The music of the winter street?
Was ever yet a sound by half        15
So merry as yon school-boy’s laugh?
 
O Earth! with gladness overfraught,
  No added charm thy face hath found;
Within my heart the change is wrought,
  My footsteps make enchanted ground.        20
From couch of pain and curtained room
Forth to thy light and air I come,
To find in all that meets my eyes
The freshness of a glad surprise.
 
Fair seem these winter days, and soon        25
  Shall blow the warm west-winds of spring,
To set the unbound rills in tune
  And hither urge the bluebird’s wing.
The vales shall laugh in flowers, the woods
Grow misty green with leafing buds,        30
And violets and wind-flowers sway
Against the throbbing heart of May.
 
Break forth, my lips, in praise, and own
  The wiser love severely kind;
Since, richer for its chastening grown,        35
  I see, whereas I once was blind.
The world, O Father! hath not wronged
With loss the life by Thee prolonged;
But still, with every added year,
More beautiful Thy works appear!        40
 
As Thou hast made thy world without,
  Make Thou more fair my world within;
Shine through its lingering clouds of doubt;
  Rebuke its haunting shapes of sin;
Fill, brief or long, my granted span        45
Of life with love to thee and man;
Strike when thou wilt the hour of rest,
But let my last days be my best!

  2d mo., 1868.
 
 
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