As we speed out of youth's sunny station
The track seems to shine in the light,
But it suddenly shoots over chasms
Or sinks into tunnels of night.
And the hearts that were brave in the morning
Are filled with repining and fears
As they pause at the City of Sorrow
Or pass through the Valley of Tears.
But the road of this perilous journey
The hand of the Master has made ;
With all its discomforts and dangers,
We need not be sad or afraid.
Paths leading from light into darkness,
Ways plunging from gloom to despair,
Wind out thro' the tunnels of midnight
To fields that are blooming and fair.
Tho' the rocks and the shadows surround us,
Tho' we catch not one gleam of the day
Above us fair cities are laughing,
And dipping white feet in some bay,
And always, eternal, forever,
Down over the hills in the west,
The last final end of our journey,
There lies the great Station of Rest.
'Tis the Grand Central point of all railways,
All roads unite here when they end
'Tis the final resort of all tourists,
All rival lines meet here and blend.
All tickets, all mile-books, all passes,
If stolen or begged for or bought,
On whatever road or division,
Will bring you at last to this spot.
If you pause at the City of Trouble,
Or wait in the Valley of Tears,
Be patient, the train will move onward
And rush down the track of the years,
Whatever the place is you seek for,
Whatever your aim or your quest,
You shall come at the last with rejoicing
To the beautiful City of Rest.
You shall store all your baggage of worries,
You shall feel perfect peace in this realm,
You shall sail with old friends on fair waters,
With joy and delight at the helm.
You shall wander in cool, fragrant gardens
With those who have loved you the best,
And the hopes that were lost in life's journey
You shall find in the City of Rest.
--Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Mecklenburg Times [Charlotte, N.C.] 17 Jan. 1890: 6.
Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.
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