The farther you journey and wander
From the sweet simple faith of your youth,
The more you peer into the yonder
And search for the root of all truth,
No matter what secrets you uncover
Their veiled mystic brows in your quest,
Or close on your astral sight hover,
Still, still you shall walk with unrest.
If you seek for strange things you shall find them,
But the finding shall bring you to grief ;
The dead lock the portals behind them,
And he who breaks through is a thief.
The soul with much ill-gotten plunder,
With its premature knowledge oppressed,
Shall grope in unsatisfied wonder
Always by the shores of unrest.
Though bold hands lift up the thin curtain
That hides the unknown from our sight ;
Though a shadowy faith becomes certain
Of the new light that follows death's night ;
Though miracles past comprehending
Shall startle the heart in your breast,
Still, still will your thirst be unending,
And your soul will be sad with unrest.
There are truths too sublime and too holy
To grasp with a mortal mind's touch.
We are happier far to be lowly ;
Content means not knowing too much.
Peace dwells not with hearts that are yearning
To fathom all labyrinths unguessed,
And the soul that is bent on vast learning
Shall find with its knowledge--unrest.
--Ella Wheeler Wilcox in Lippincott's
Sacramento Daily Record-Union (17 Mar. 1888): 6.
Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.
|Back to Poem Index|