Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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Alfred H. Miles, ed.  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
 
Hymns and Poems.
IV. Matter and Mind
By Sir John Bowring (1792–1872)
 
IF in the vast material world
  No atom ever perished,—though
In multitudinous changes hurl’d
  Upwards and downwards, to and fro,
And all that in the present orb’d        5
  From silent growth and sudden storms,
Is but a former past absorb’d
  In ever-shifting frames and forms,—
 
If He who made the worlds that were
  And makes the worlds that are to be,        10
Has with all-wise, all-potent care
  Preserved the smallest entity
Imperishable—though it pass
  From shape to shape, by heat or cold
Dispersed, attracted, monad mass—        15
  A wind-blown sand, a solid mould,—
 
Shall He not save those noble things,
  Those elements of mind and thought,
Whose marvellous imaginings
  Have the great deeds of progress wrought?        20
Those instincts, be they what they may,
  Of which the soul of man is made,
By which he works his wondrous way
  Up to light’s very fountain head?
 
From earth’s untold materials, man        25
  Can build, unbuild, can break or bind;
But from mind’s elements who can
  Transform, create another mind?
Who rear new piles of thought from aught
  Of thought surviving its decay—        30
Who ever from the grave has brought
  A spirit that had passed away?
 
If God have left no blank,—no void
  Unfilled,—if in Creation’s reign
Nothing is born to be destroyed        35
  Or perish—but to live again;—
If in the cycles of the earth
  No atom of that earth can die—
The soul, which is of nobler birth,
  Must live,—and live eternally.        40
 
 
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