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Poem by Lewis Morris
ONCE, and once again, From the thick crowd of men, Loud toil and high endeavour, There comes a secret sound, Where the thinkers stand around, And sometimes 'tis 'For ever,' Sometimes 'Never.' Always that ceaseless throng Has filed those paths along, Those painful hills ascended ; Thro' fair meads of success, Thro' barren sands they press, Defeats and triumphs splendid, Till 'tis ended. The glory and the shame Different, and yet the same The efforts and the aspirations, Unlike in mien and speech, Pressed onwards each on each, Go the endless alternations Of the nations. And the rhythm of their feet, The ineffable low beat Of those vast throngs pacing slowly, Floats on the sea of Time Like a musical low chime From a far isle, mystic, holy, Tolling slowly. And from the endless column Goes up that strange rhyme solemn Of thoughts which naught shall sever, The contrast sad and sweet, Of opposite streams which meet ; Sometimes the glad ' For ever,' Sometimes 'Never.'
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