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

By Via Crucis (1906). IV. Who will show us any good

William Hall (1838– )

Section II
Selected Stanzas

WHENAS the skilful hand dissects

The slumbering pupa of the worm,

The keen and cunning eye detects

The winged imago’s embryo form:

Look but attentively beneath

Integument and covering,—

Thou’lt see, close folded in their sheath,

The rudiments of foot and wing.

The soul of man, laid bare to view,

Supplies like singular augury;

Therein we find the guiding clue

To all he’s fore-ordained to be:

It needs no cunning eye therein

To read presumptively his fate,

Some forecast of his future win,

His goal and scope anticipate.

Not surer does the nascent fin

Or wing some special use foretell;

The embryo members, shut within

The safe enclosure of the shell,

Predict the noble life and free

The full-developed bird awaits,

The blissful, rapturous ecstacy

It yet shall share in with its mates.

Each organ immature shows forth

Its true connatural element,

Whether of ocean, air, or earth,

Towards which, its vesicle but rent,

Forthwith precipitate it speeds,

Nor will by ought be turned aside,

For thence alone the pressing needs

Wherewith it wakes can be supplied.