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

By Sonnets and Other Poems, Chiefly Religious (1890). I. A Thought of Stoicism

Joseph John Murphy (1827–1894)

I HAVE ere now been half inclined

To wish the present life were all;

That death upon the soul might fall,

And darkness overwhelm the mind.

Not that I envied then the beast

Which never thinks of good or ill,

And only cares to eat his fill

At mighty Nature’s bounteous feast;

But that our motives might be pure,

And free our choice and clear our way,

The law of conscience to obey,

Whether to act or to endure;

To fight with sin, without regard

To conquests in the battle won;

To say at last, “My work is done;

I die, and seek for no reward.”

And yet I know, ’tis better far

That faith should look beyond the grave

On Him who died the world to save,

And rose to be the Polar Star,

For ever, of our hope and love;

To guide us on through death and night.

To realms of deathless life and light,

To mansions of the blest above.

I know ’tis well to trust the Power

Who makes the buried seeds to bloom

That He will raise me from the tomb

As summer’s breath awakes the flower;

To take a child upon my knee,

Or lay what was my friend in dust,

And feel a reverential trust

That He who made them both to be,—

Who gives us death as well as birth,

And maketh children grow to men,—

Will give us other life again,

More blessèd than the life on earth.