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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald (Parables)

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A moment more he stood, then softly sighed.

"I know thy pain; but this sorrow is far Beyond my help," his voice at length replied

To my beseeching tears. "Look at yon star

Up from the low east half-way, all ablaze: Think'st thou, because no cloud between doth mar

The liquid glory that from its visage rays,

Thou therefore knowest that same world on high, Its people and its orders and its ways?"

"What meanest thou?" I said. "Thou know'st that

Would hold, not thy dear form, but the self-thee! Thou art not near me! For thyself I cry!"

"Not the less near that nearer I shall be.

I have a world within thou dost not know-- Would I could make thee know it! but all of me

Is thine, though thou not yet canst enter so

Into possession that betwixt us twain The frolic homeliness of love should flow

As o'er the brim of childhood's cup again:

Away the deeper childhood first must wipe That clouded consciousness which was our pain.

When in thy breast the godlike hath grown ripe,

And thou, Christ's little one, art ten times more A child than when we played with drum and pipe

About our earthly father's happy door,

Then--" He ceased not; his holy utterance still Flowing went on, like spring from hidden store

Of wasteless waters; but I wept my fill,

Nor heeded much the comfort of his speech. At length he said: "When first I clomb the hill--

With earthly words I heavenly things would reach--

Where dwelleth now the man we used to call Father, whose voice, oh memory dear! did teach

Us in our beds, when straight, as once a stall

Became a temple, holy grew the room, Prone on the ground before him I did fall,

So grand he towered above me like a doom;

But now I look into the well-known face Fearless, yea, basking blessed in the bloom

Of his eternal youthfulness and grace."

"But something separates us," yet I cried; "Let light at least begin the dark to chase,

The dark begin to waver and divide,

And clear the path of vision. In the old time, When clouds one heart did from the other hide,

A wind would blow between! If I would climb,

This foot must rise ere that can go up higher: Some big A teach me of the eternal prime."

He answered me: "Hearts that to love aspire

Must learn its mighty harmony ere they can Give out one perfect note in its great quire;

And thereto am I sent--oh, sent of one

Who makes the dumb for joy break out and sing: He opens every door 'twixt man and man;

He to all inner chambers all will bring."

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