THE POETS AND The poets voice the feeling and heart of the world. Whittier expresses his pity for those who have no trust, in the beautiful words: Alas for him who never sees The stars shine through his cypress trees! Who, hopeless, lays his dead away, Nor looks to see the breaking day Across the mournful marbles play! Who hath not learned in hours of faith The truth to flesh and sense unknown, That Life is ever lord of Death And Love can never lose its own.
And Holmes has rung out his defiant challenge: Is this the whole sad story of creation, Told by its breathing myriads o'er and o'er? One glimpse of day, then blank annihilation, A sunlit passage to a sunless shore? Give back our faith, ye mystery-solving lynxes! Robe us once more in heav'n-aspiring creeds! Better was dreaming Egypt with her sphinxes, The stony convent with its cross and beads.
It may be easy enough for a man in some moods to persuade himself that he does not care whether he is to live after the fact of death or not. There are cases
of those, world-worn and weary, who im agine that all they care for is sleep and rest. But what they fondly imagine as sleep and rest are only delusions; for on that theory there is nobody there sleeping or resting. It seems to me that it is not life which these world-weary ones are glad to be rid of, but only the world-weariness, the conditions which have been attached to life. Rather it seems to me that Tennyson speaks the bottom truth when he says: Whatever crazy Sorrow saith, No life that breathes with human breath Hath ever truly longed for death.
'T is life of which our nerves are scant,'T is life, not death, for which we pant, More life, and fuller, that we want.