They are blind and they are dead:
We will wake them as we go;
There are words have not been said;
There are sounds they do not know.
We will pipe and we will sing--
With the music and the spring,
Set their hearts a wondering.
They are tired of what is old:
We will give it voices new;
For the half hath not been told
Of the Beautiful and True.
Drowsy eyelids shut and sleeping!
Heavy eyes oppressed with weeping!
Flashes through the lashes leaping!
Ye that have a pleasant voice,
Hither come without delay;
Ye will never have a choice
Like to that ye have to-day:
Round the wide world we will go,
Singing through the frost and snow,
Till the daisies are in blow.
Ye that cannot pipe or sing,
Ye must also come with speed;
Ye must come and with you bring
Weighty words and weightier deed:
Helping hands and loving eyes,
These will make them truly wise--
Then will be our Paradise.
As Robert read, the sweetness of the rhythm seized upon him, and,
almost unconsciously, he read the last stanza aloud. Looking up
from the paper with a sigh of wonder and delight--there was the pale
face of Ericson gazing at him from the bed! He had risen on one
arm, looking like a dead man called to life against his will, who
found the world he had left already stranger to him than the one
into which he had but peeped.
'Yes,' he murmured; 'I could say that once. It's all gone now. Our
world is but our moods.'
He fell back on his pillow. After a little, he murmured again:
'I might fool myself with faith again. So it is better not. I
would not be fooled. To believe the false and be happy is the very
belly of misery. To believe the true and be miserable, is to be
true--and miserable. If there is no God, let me know it. I will
not be fooled. I will not believe in a God that does not exist.
Better be miserable because I am, and cannot help it.--O God!'
Yet in his misery, he cried upon God.
These words came upon Robert with such a shock of sympathy, that
they destroyed his consciousness for the moment, and when he thought
about them, he almost doubted if he had heard them. He rose and
approached the bed. Ericson lay with his eyes closed, and his face
contorted as by inward pain. Robert put a spoonful of wine to his
lips. He swallowed it, opened his eyes, gazed at the boy as if he
did not know him, closed them again, and lay still.
Some people take comfort from the true eyes of a dog--and a precious
thing to the loving heart is the love of even a dumb animal.6 What
comfort then must not such a boy as Robert have been to such a man
as Ericson! Often and often when he was lying asleep as Robert
thought, he was watching the face of his watcher. When the human
soul is not yet able to receive the vision of the God-man, God
sometimes--might I not say always?--reveals himself, or at least
gives himself, in some human being whose face, whose hands are the
ministering angels of his unacknowledged presence, to keep alive the
fire of love on the altar of the heart, until God hath provided the
sacrifice--that is, until the soul is strong enough to draw it from
the concealing thicket. Here were two, each thinking that God had
forsaken him, or was not to be found by him, and each the very love
of God, commissioned to tend the other's heart. In each was he
present to the other. The one thought himself the happiest of
mortals in waiting upon his big brother, whose least smile was joy
enough for one day; the other wondered at the unconscious goodness
of the boy, and while he gazed at his ruddy-brown face, believed in
For some time after Ericson was taken ill, he was too depressed and
miserable to ask how he was cared for. But by slow degrees it
dawned upon him that a heart deep and gracious, like that of a
woman, watched over him. True, Robert was uncouth, but his
uncouthness was that of a half-fledged angel. The heart of the man
and the heart of the boy were drawn close together. Long before
Ericson was well he loved Robert enough to be willing to be indebted
to him, and would lie pondering--not how to repay him, but how to
return his kindness.
How much Robert's ambition to stand well in the eyes of Miss St.
John contributed to his progress I can only imagine; but certainly
his ministrations to Ericson did not interfere with his Latin and
Greek. I venture to think that they advanced them, for difficulty
adds to result, as the ramming of the powder sends the bullet the
further. I have heard, indeed, that when a carrier wants to help
his horse up hill, he sets a boy on his back.
Ericson made little direct acknowledgment to Robert: his tones, his
gestures, his looks, all thanked him; but he shrunk from words, with
the maidenly shamefacedness that belongs to true feeling. He would
even assume the authoritative, and send him away to his studies, but
Robert knew how to hold his own. The relation of elder brother and
younger was already established between them. Shargar likewise took
his share in the love and the fellowship, worshipping in that he