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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Verse Musings on Nature, Faith, and Freedom (1889). II. Freedom. III. To the Future World

John Owen (1836–1896)

DARK World! I ask not if thou be,

Thy Being or non-Being frets not me;

I would not lift—if so I might,

The curtain that enshrouds thy night.

For grant thou art—that could not change

Stern duty’s sphere—in Earth-life’s range;

Still must I work, learn, think, and say,

As now I do, from day to day.

Grant thou art not; yet must I still

One round with Man, Life, Thought fulfil;

With these, their Life-course done—I must

In death commingle—dust to dust.

The flower that grows, matures, and dies,

One moment brightening living eyes,

Demands no more of Life, Tune, Bloom,

And space, than Earth allots it room.

Goodness is great, Truth still bides true,

Though Earth-things ’scape man’s Earth-born view,

Eternal Time claims this one day,

Though Heaven and Earth both pass away.

Content am I—my Here-life be

Worthy of Immortality;

Yet, careless somewhat—if its lot

Be that, or death-still’d and forgot.

Content—as by high wisdom plann’d,

This Earth- to Heaven-life to expand,

Or else this Life itself to guard

As its sole duty, worth, reward.