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Poem by Edith Nesbit

The Monk

WHEN in my narrow cell I lie,
    The long day's penance done at last,
I see the ghosts of days gone by,
    And hear the voices of the past.

I see the blue-gray wood-smoke curled
    From hearths where life has rhymed to love,
I see the kingdoms of the world--
    The glory and the power thereof,

And cry, "Ah, vainly have I striven!"
    And then a voice calls, soft and low:
"Thou gavest My Earth to win My Heaven;
    But Heaven-on-Earth thou mayest not know!"

It is not for Thy Heaven, O Lord,
    That I renounced Thy pleasant earth--
The ship, the furrow, and the sword--
    The dreams of death, the dreams of birth!

Weary of vigil, fast, and prayer,
    Weak in my hope and in my faith--
O Christ, for whom this cross I bear,
    Meet me beside the gate of Death!

When the night comes, then let me rest
    (O Christ, who sanctifiest pain!)
Falling asleep upon Thy breast,
    And, if Thou wilt, wake never again!

Edith Nesbit

Edith Nesbit's other poems:
  1. Incompatibilities
  2. The Vault
  3. To One Who Pleaded for Candour in Love
  4. A Portrait
  5. Sea-Shells

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