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George Willis Cooke, comp. The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology. 1903.


Margaret Fuller (1810–1850)

“I will not leave you comfortless.”

O FRIEND divine, this promise dear

Falls sweetly on the weary ear!

Often, in hours of sickening pain,

It soothes me to thy rest again.

Might I a true disciple be,

Following thy footsteps faithfully,

Then should I still the succor prove

Of him who gave his life for love.

When this fond heart would vainly beat

For bliss that ne’er on earth we meet,

For perfect sympathy of soul,

For those such heavy laws control;

When, roused from passion’s ecstasy,

I see the dreams that filled it fly,

Amid my bitter tears and sighs

Those gentle words before me rise.

With aching brows and feverish brain

The founts of intellect I drain,

And con with over-anxious thought

What poets sung and heroes wrought.

Enchanted with their deeds and lays,

I with like gems would deck my days;

No fires creative in me burn,

And, humbled, I to Thee return;

When blackest clouds around me rolled

Of skepticism drear and cold,

When love, and hope, and joy, and pride,

Forsook a spirit deeply tried;

My reason wavered in that hour,

Prayer, too impatient, lost its power;

From thy benignity a ray

I caught, and found the perfect day.

A head revered in dust was laid;

For the first time I watched my dead;

The widow’s sobs were checked in vain,

And childhood’s tears poured down like rain.

In awe I gazed on that dear face,

In sorrow, years gone by retrace,

When, nearest duties most forgot,

I might have blessed, and did it not!

Ignorant, his wisdom I reproved,

Heedless, passed by what most he loved,

Knew not a life like his to prize,

Of ceaseless toil and sacrifice.

No tears can now that hushed heart move,

No cares display a daughter’s love,

The fair occasion lost, no more

Can thoughts more just to thee restore.

What can I do? And how atone

For all I ’ve done, and left undone?

Tearful I search the parting words

Which the belovèd John records.

“Not comfortless!” I dry my eyes,

My duties clear before me rise,—

Before thou think’st of taste or pride,

See home affections satisfied!

Be not with generous thoughts content,

But on well-doing constant bent:

When self seems dear, self-seeking fair,

Remember this sad hour in prayer!

Though all thou wishest fly thy touch,

Much can one do who loveth much.

More of thy spirit, Jesus, give,

Not comfortless, though sad, to live.

And yet not sad, if I can know

To copy him who here below

Sought but to do his Father’s will,

Though from such sweet composure still

My heart be far. Wilt thou not aid

One whose best hopes on thee are stayed?

Breathe into me thy perfect love,

And guide me to thy rest above!