The Path – January 1891


The mountain paths seem rough and steep,
     With cypress overgrown,
The valleys where the lilies weep
     Are oft obscure and lone.
The breath to which the vale responds
     With music and delight,
Blows wild and tree through waving fronds
     Far up the mountain height.
The lilies crowd the valley's zone,
But he who climbs must stand alone.

The lotus vales are warm and sweet,
     The mountain paths sublime;
We linger with unwilling feet
      O'er things of sense and time;
The touch of some familiar hand,
     The voice that thrills the sense;
The music of the Lotus-land
     The heart's sweet recompense:
Where lilies pale and zephyrs moan,
And souls fear most to stand alone.

Ah! not alone: no zephyr bends
     The head of lily fair,
But slightest breath for aye portends
     The sweep of mountain air.
Souls sicken where the languor grows
     And faint ere flush of even;
'Till rough winds blow with breath of snow
     Borne from the purer heaven.
The zephyrs sleep in wild wind's moan
Nor breath nor gale e're throbs alone.

The voices of the vale ascend:
     The sweeping breath comes down,
While grief and joy together blend,
     Hope lightens fate's dark frown.
Dear heart, be brave! no joy is lost;
     Fate brings thee all thine own;
The flower that blossoms in the frost
     Is in the valleys sown.
List for the voice from starry zone
Nor think to live or grieve alone.

We stand alone, yet not apart,
     Save when self intervenes;
The griefs and joys that try the heart
     Are only Maya dreams.
As soldiers mount at bugles blast
     To brave the battle shock,
So gird thine armor to the last;
     Dear heart! be firm as rock.
We climb together, zone on zone;
Together most, when most alone.


The Path