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Our One Life

( Originally Published 1868 )


'Tis not for man to trifle ! life is brief ;
And sin is here.
Our age is but the falling of a leaf
A dropping tear.
We have no time to sport away the hours.;
All must be earnest in a world like ours.

Not many lives, but only one have we—
One, only one
How sacred should that one life ever be---
That narrow span !
Day after day filled up with blessed toil--
Hour after hour still bringing in new spoil.

Our being is no shadow of thin air
No vacant dream
No fable of the things that never were,
But only seem ;
'Tis full of meaning as of mystery,
Though strange and solemn may that meaning be.

Our sorrows are no phantom of the night—
No idle tale ;
No cloud that floats along a sky of light,
On summer gale ;
They are the true realities of earth ;
Friends and companions even from our birth

O life below—how brief, and poor, and sad !
One heavy sigh.
o life above—how long, how fair, and glad !
An endless joy.
Oh, to be done with daily dying here !
Oh, to begin the living in you sphere!

A day of time, how dark ! O sky and earth,
How dull your hue !
A day of Christ, how bright ! O sky and earth,
Made fair and new !
Come, better Eden, with thy fresher green;
Come, brighter Salem, gladden all the scene !

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