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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.' 

Lewis Morris

Lewis Morris's other poems:
  1. On a Modern Painted Window
  2. Other Days
  3. Dear Little Hand
  4. To a Child of Fancy
  5. A Yorkshire River

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