There's a tramp of feet in the silent street,
A cry on the midnight air;
And men wake from sleep as the dread flames creep,
And strange steps are on the stair;
And the miser old grasps his store of gold,
The maiden her lover's scroll;
And the mother flies where her baby lies,
Though the flames around her roll.
And the loves men mean on their brows are seen
In that sudden, awful light,
All written plain out, without blot or doubt,
As they are in God's searching sight.
And does not life bring on its wondrous wing
To each soul some wild surprise,
When the lurking fact beneath thought and act
Walks out to our shrinking eyes?
And the shame or pride, which the truth would hide,
Are startled off from their post;
And what each holds best is made manifest,
Whether angel, fiend, or ghost.
T'is in such surprise that God's furnace tries
The dross that is in the gold;
And the loss or gain that in years have lain
In one hour is manifold.
And the only way to stand fast that day,
Is to tread firm, hour by hour
(T'is the winter snow, and the springtide glow,
That ripen the summer flower).
God's heroes must march through the lowly
Of duty, reared sure and strong;
Let us build to-day, and swift as we may,
For our trial shall come ere long.
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.