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For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled ; Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.
Truly shape and fashion these ;
Leave no yawning gaps between ; Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.
In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care Each minute and unseen part ;
For the Gods see everywhere.
Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen ; Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean.
Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time, Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.
Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base ; And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.
Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.
A HANDFUL of red sand, from the hot clime
Of Arab deserts brought, Within this glass becomes the spy of Time,
The minister of Thought.
How many weary centuries has it been
About those deserts blown !
How many histories known!
Perhaps the camels of the Ishmaelite
Trampled and passed it o'er,
His favorite son they bore.
Perhaps the feet of Moses, burnt and bare,
Crushed it beneath their tread;
Scattered it as they sped ;
Or Mary, with the Christ of Nazareth
Held close in her caress,
Illumed the wilderness ;
Or anchorites beneath Engaddi's palms
Pacing the Dead Sea beach,
In half-articulate speech ;
Or caravans, that from Bassora's gate
With westward steps depart;
And resolute in heart !
These have passed over it, or may have passed !
Now in this crystal tower
It counts the passing hour.
SAND OF THE DESERT.
And as I gaze, these narrow walls expand ;
Before my dreamy eye Stretches the desert with its shifting sand,
Its unimpeded sky.
And borne aloft by the sustaining blast,
This little golden thread
A form of fear and dread.
And onward, and across the setting sun,
Across the boundless plain,
Till thought pursues in vain.
The vision vanishes! These walls again
Shut out the lurid sun,
The half-hour's sand is run!