Duncan Campbell Scott

(2 August 1862 – 19 December 1947 / Ottawa, Ontario)

To The Heroic Soul


I

Nurture thyself, O Soul, from the clear spring
That wells beneath the secret inner shrine;
Commune with its deep murmur,--'tis divine;
Be faithful to the ebb and flow that bring
The outer tide of Spirit to trouble and swing
The inlet of thy being. Learn to know
These powers, and life with all its venom and show
Shall have no force to dazzle thee or sting:

And when Grief comes thou shalt have suffered more
Than all the deepest woes of all the world;
Joy, dancing in, shall find thee nourished with mirth;
Wisdom shall find her Master at thy door;
And Love shall find thee crowned with love empearled;
And death shall touch thee not but a new birth.


II

Be strong, O warring soul! For very sooth
Kings are but wraiths, republics fade like rain,
Peoples are reaped and garnered as the grain,
And that alone prevails which is the truth:
Be strong when all the days of life bear ruth
And fury, and are hot with toil and strain:
Hold thy large faith and quell thy mighty pain:
Dream the great dream that buoys thine age with youth.

Thou art an eagle mewed in a sea-stopped cave:
He, poised in darkness with victorious wings,
Keeps night between the granite and the sea,
Until the tide has drawn the warder-wave:
Then from the portal where the ripple rings,
He bursts into the boundless morning,--free!


RETROSPECT


This is the mockery of the moving years;
Youth's colour dies, the fervid morning glow
Is gone from off the foreland; slow, slow,
Even slower than the fount of human tears
To empty, the consuming shadow nears
That Time is casting on the worldly show
Of pomp and glory. But falter not;--below
That thought is based a deeper thought that cheers.

Glean thou thy past; that will alone inure
To catch thy heart up from a dark distress;
It were enough to find one deed mature,
Deep-rooted, mighty 'mid the toil and press;
To save one memory of the sweet and pure,
From out life's failure and its bitterness.

Submitted: Monday, April 19, 2010

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