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STARR, Ellen Gates


The Bars Of Fate


I stood before the bars of Fate

And bowed my head disconsolate;

So high they seemed, so fierce their frown.

I thought no hand could break them down.


Beyond them I could hear the songs

Of valiant men who marched in throngs;

And joyful women, fair and free,

Looked back and waved their hands to me.


I did not cry "Too late! too late!"

Or strive to rise, or rail at Fate,

Or pray to God. My coward heart,

Contented, played its foolish part.


So still I sat, the tireless bee

Sped o'er my head, with scorn for me,

And birds who build their nests in air

Beheld me, as I were not there.


From twig to twig, before my face,

The spiders wove their curious lace,

As they a curtain fine would see

Between the hindering bars and me.


Then, sudden change! I heard the call

Of wind and wave and waterfall;

From heaven above and earth below

A clear command--"ARISE AND GO!"


I upward sprang in all my strength,

And stretched my eager hands at length

To break the bars--no bars were there;

My fingers fell through empty air!


The Home of the Soul


I will sing you a song of that beautiful land,

The far away home of the soul;

Where no storms ever beat on that glittering strand,

While the years of eternity roll.


While the years of eternity roll.

While the years of eternity roll,

Where no storms ever beat on that glittering strand,

While the years of eternity roll.


Oh, that home of the soul in my visions and dreams,

Its bright jasper walls I can see;

Till I fancy but thinly the vale intervenes

Between the fair city and me.

While the years of eternity roll.
…..

That unchangeable home is for you and for me,

Where Jesus of Nazareth stands;

The King of all kingdoms forever, is He,

And He holdeth our crowns in His hands.


While the years of eternity roll .
…..

Oh, how sweet it will be in that beautiful land,

So free from all sorrow and pain;

With songs on our lips and with harps in our hands

To meet one another again

While the years of eternity roll.


Eternity


O the clanging bells of Time!

Night and day they never cease;

We are wearied with their chime,

For they do not bring us peace;

And we hush our breath to hear,

And we strain our eyes to see,

If thy shores are drawing near,—

Eternity!

If thy shores are drawing near,—

Eternity!


O the clanging bells of Time!

How their changes rise and fall,

But in under tone sublime,

Sounding clearly thro’ them all,

Is a voice that must be heard,

As our moments onward flee,

And it speaketh aye one word,—

Eternity!

And it speaketh aye one word,—

Eternity!


O the clanging bells of Time!

To their voices loud and low,

In a long, unresting line

We are marching to and fro;

And we yearn for sight or sound,

Of the light that is to be,

For the breath doth wrap us round,—

Eternity!

For the breath doth wrap us round,—

Eternity!


O the clanging bells of Time!

Soon their notes will all be dumb,

And in joy and peace sublime,

We shall feel the silence come;

And our souls their thirst will slake,

And our eyes the King will see,

When thy glorious morn shall break,—

Eternity!

When thy glorious morn shall break,—

Eternity!



I Shall Not Cry Return

I Shall not cry Return! Return!
— Nor weep my years away;
But just as long as sunsets burn,
— And dawns make no delay,
I shall be lonesome — I shall miss
Your hand, your voice, your smile, your kiss.

Not often shall I speak your name,
— For what would strangers care
That once a sudden tempest came
— And swept my gardens bare,
And then you passed, and in your place
Stood Silence with her lifted face.

Not always shall this parting be,
— For though I travel slow,
I, too, may claim eternity
— And find the way you go;
And so I do my task and wait
The opening of the outer gate.


Beautiful Hands

Such beautiful, beautiful hands,

They’re neither white nor small;

And you, I know, would scarcely think

That they were fair at all.

I’ve looked on hands whose form and hue

A sculptor’s dream might be,

Yet are these agéd wrinkled hands

Most beautiful to me.


Such beautiful, beautiful hands!

Though heart were weary and sad

These patient hands kept toiling on

That the children might be glad.

I almost weep when looking back

To childhood’s distant day!

I think how these hands rested not

When mine were at their play.


Such beautiful, beautiful hands!

They’re growing feeble now,

And time and pain have left their mark

On hand, and heart and brow.

Alas! alas! the nearing time–

And the sad, sad day to me,

When ‘neath the daisies, out of sight,

These hands must folded be.


But, oh! beyond the shadowy lands,

Where all is bright and fair,

I know full well these dear old hands

Will palms of victory bear;

When crystal streams, through endless years,

Flow over golden sands,

And where the old are young again,

I’ll clasp my mother’s hands.


Sleep Sweet

Sleep sweet within this quiet room,

O thou, whoe'er thou art,

And let no mournful yesterdays

Disturb thy peaceful heart.


Nor let tomorrow mar thy rest

With dreams of coming ill:

Thy Maker is thy changeless friend,

His love surrounds thee still.

Forget thyself and all the world,

Put out each garish light:

The stars are shining overhead -

Sleep sweet! Good night! Good night!


Your Mission


If you cannot on the ocean

Sail among the swiftest fleet,

Rocking on the highest billows,

Laughing at the storms you meet;

You can stand among the sailors,

Anchored yet within the bay,

You can lend a hand to help them

As they launch their boats away.


If you are too weak to journey

Up the mountain, steep and high,

You can stand within the valley

While the multitudes go by;

You can chant in happy measure

As they slowly pass along--

Though they may forget the singer,

They will not forget the song.


If you cannot in the harvest

Garner up the richest sheaves,

Many a grain, both ripe and golden,

Oft the careless reaper leaves;

Go and glean among the briars

Growing rank against the wall,

For it may be that their shadow

Hides the heaviest grain of all.


If you cannot in the conflict

Prove yourself a soldier true;

If, where fire and smoke are thickest,

There's no work for you to do;

When the battle field is silent,

You can go with careful tread;

You can bear away the wounded,

You can cover up the dead.


Do not then stand idly waiting

For some greater work to do;

Fortune is a lazy goddess,

She will never come to you;

Go and toil in any vineyard,

Do not fear to do and dare.

If you want a field of labor

You can find it anywhere.


The Dark


I am the Dark, the ancient one,

Before the days and years begun,

I hovered formless, silent, cold,

And Filled the void. No page unrolled,

Makes mention of my timeless reign;

No rock on Mountain-top or plain,

By scar or symbol, now can tell,

The secrets that I know so well.


I am the Dark, the first to be;

My own beginning baffles me.

I seemed a thing apart, forgot,

Which was – because the Light was not.

I dwelt with Chaos; place I kept

As atom unto atom crept,

Till Order stood, with sinews set,

And law with law like brothers met.


I am the Dark, for still I stay,

With half my kingdom wrenched away.

There came an hour when all the black,

A filmy screen, was folded back.

Above me, through me, everywhere,

Where scarlet streaks and golden glare;

And mighty winds began to blow

The trailing mist-wreaths to and fro.


I am the Dark. The eye that sees

The midnight moons and Pleiades,

Must wait for me. I claim the sky.

To show the splendors swinging high

In space so deep, and wide, and black,

That thought itself comes trembling back.

The Sun may show the sea and sod,

But I – the far-off fields of God!


I am the Dark. My paths I keep;

No hour too soon the light may creep

Above the hills, no moment late

The Sun may reach the western gate.

The shadows are my own; their wings

They spread above all breathing things,

Till joy and pain, and more and less,

Are one in sleep’s unconsciousness.


I am the Dark. The under-world,

With soundless rivers onward whirled,

Is mine alone; and mine the lakes,

O’er which the morning never breaks.

I dwell in caverns, vast, unknown,

Whose walls are wrought from primal stone;

There Silence, Death, and I, can wait, -

Creation’s grim triumvirate!


I am the Dark, and forth and back,

As God’s own servant, robed in black,

I go and come. His dead I keep

Within my chambers while they sleep.

Who knows my doom? Perhaps, at last,

I may be ended, outward cast

From all that is, my deepest night

Invaded by resistless light!