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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

Climbing to Rest

By Lucy Larcom (1826–1893)

[Born in Beverly, Mass., 1826. Died in Boston, Mass., 1893. Poetical Works. 1885.]

STILL must I climb, if I would rest:

The bird soars upward to his nest;

The young leaf on the tree-top high

Cradles itself within the sky.

The streams, that seem to hasten down,

Return in clouds, the hills to crown;

The plant arises from her root,

To rock aloft her flower and fruit.

I cannot in the valley stay:

The great horizons stretch away!

The very cliffs that wall me round

Are ladders unto higher ground.

To work—to rest—for each a time;

I toil, but I must also climb.

What soul was ever quite at ease

Shut in by earthly boundaries?

I am not glad till I have known

Life that can lift me from my own:

A loftier level must be won,

A mightier strength to lean upon.

And heaven draws near as I ascend;

The breeze invites, the stars befriend:

All things are beckoning toward the Best:

I climb to thee, my God, for rest!