Ella Wheeler Wilcox (5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)
We cannot choose our sorrows. One there was
Who, reverent of soul, and strong with trust,
Cried, 'God, though Thou shouldst bow me to the dust,
Yet will I praise thy everlasting laws.
Beggared, my faith would never halt or pause,
But sing Thy glory, feasting on a crust.
Only one boon, one precious boon I must
Demand of Thee, O opulent great Cause.
Let Love stay with me, constant to the end,
Though fame pass by and poverty pursue.'
With freighted hold her life ship onward sailed;
The world gave wealth, and pleasure, and a friend,
Unmarred by envy, and whose heart was true.
But ere the sun reached midday, Love had failed.
Then from the depths, in bitterness she cried,
'Hell is on earth, and heaven is but a dream;
And human life a troubled aimless stream;
And God is nowhere. Would God so deride
A loving creature's faith?' A voice replied,
'The stream flows onward to the Source Supreme,
Where things that ARE replace the things that SEEM,
And where the deeds of all past lives abide.
Once at thy door Love languished and was spurned.
Who sorrow plants, must garner sorrow's sheaf.
No prayers can change the seedling in the sod.
By thine own heart Love's anguish must be learned.
Pass on, and know, as one made wise by grief,
That in thyself dwells heaven and hell and God.'
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