John Boyle O'Reilly

(28 June 1844 - 10 August 1890 / Dowth Castle, County Meath)

From The Heights - Poem by John Boyle O'Reilly

“COME to me for wisdom,' said the mountain;
In the valley and the plain
There is Knowledge dimmed with sorrow in the gain;
There is Effort, with its hope like a fountain;
There, the chained rebel, Passion;
Laboring Strength and fleeting Fashion;
There, Ambition's leaping flame,
And the iris-crown of Fame;
But those gains are dear forever
Won from loss and pain and fever.
Nature's gospel never changes:
Every sudden force deranges;
Blind endeavor is not wise:
Wisdom enters through the eyes;
And the seer is the knower,
Is the doer and the sower.

'Come to me for riches,' said the peak;
'I am leafless, cold and calm;
But the treasures of the lily and the palm—
They are mine to bestow on those who seek.
I am gift and I am giver
To the verdured fields below,
As the motherhood of snow
Daily gives the new-born river.
As a watcher on a tower,
Listening to the evening hour,
Sees the roads diverge and blend,
Sees the wandering currents end
Where the moveless waters shine
On the far horizon line—

All the storied Past is mine;
All its strange beliefs still clinging;
All its singers and their singing;
All the paths that led astray,
All the meteors once called day;
All the stars that rose to shine—
Come to me—for all are mine!

'Come to me for safety,' said the height;
'In the future as the past,
Road and river end at last
Like a raindropp in the ever-circling sea.
Who shall know by lessened sight
Where the gain and where the loss
In the desert they must cross?
Guides who lead their charge from ills,
Passing soon from town to town,
Through the forest and the down,
Take direction from the hills;
Those who range a wider land,
Higher climb until they stand
Where the past and future swing
Like a far blue ocean-ring;
Those who sail from land afar
Leap from mountain-top to star.
Higher still, from star to God,
Have the spirit-pilots trod,
Setting lights for mind and soul
That the ships may reach the goal.

“They shall safely steer who see:
Sight is wisdom. Come to me!”


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Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 20, 2012



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