Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
892. Reincarnation
By David Banks Sickels
IT cannot be that He who made
  This wondrous world for our delight,
Designed that all its charms should fade
  And pass forever from our sight;
That all shall wither and decay,        5
  And know on earth no life but this,
With only one finite survey
  Of all its beauty and its bliss.
It cannot be that all the years
  Of toil and care and grief we live        10
Shall find no recompense but tears,
  No sweet return that earth can give;
That all that leads us to aspire,
  And struggle onward to achieve,
And every unattained desire        15
  Were given only to deceive.
It cannot be that, after all
  The mighty conquests of the mind,
Our thoughts shall pass beyond recall
  And leave no record here behind;        20
That all our dreams of love and fame,
  And hopes that time has swept away,—
All that enthralled this mortal frame,—
  Shall not return some other day.
It cannot be that all the ties        25
  Of kindred souls and loving hearts
Are broken when this body dies,
  And the immortal mind departs;
That no serener light shall break
  At last upon our mortal eyes,        30
To guide us as our footsteps make
  The pilgrimage to Paradise.


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