IMMORTAL life is something to be earned,
By slow self-conquest, comradeship with pain,
And patient seeking after higher truths,
We cannot follow our own wayward wills,
And feed our baser appetites, and give
Loose rein to foolish tempers year on year
And then cry, “Lord, forgive me, I believe,”
And straightway bathe in glory. Men must learn
God’s system is too grand a thing for that.
The spark divine dwells in our souls, and we
Can fan it to a steady flame of light,
Whose lustre gilds the pathway to the tomb,
And shines on through eternity, or else
Neglect it until it glimmers down to death,
And leaves us but the darkness of the grave.
Each conquered passion feeds the living flame ;
Each well-borne sorrow is a step towards God,
Faith cannot rescue, and no blood redeem
The soul that will not reason and resolve.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox