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

By Hymns and Poems. VI. Unchanging Changes

Sir John Bowring (1792–1872)

OUR lives are into cycles cast,

They seem to linger while they last,

But are dim dreamings when they’re past.

The summers of the past have left

No traces,—rolling years have cleft

All memories,—of all signs bereft.

All melted are the winter snows,

And where they perished, whence they rose,

No now existing record shows.

And yet there reigns eternal Law,

And seasons after seasons draw

Their lines without a fault or flaw.

So man, the noblest work of God,

Treads where his vanished fathers trod,

And views the skies and turns the sod.

Where’er he looks, above, around,

Scattered o’er earth’s prolific ground

The seeds of coming man are found.

It was so—is so—so shall be

While rolls the ever-flowing sea

Into thy gulf, Eternity!