Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
VI. Human Experience
Low Spirits
Frederick William Faber (1814–1863)
 
FEVER and fret and aimless stir
  And disappointed strife,
All chafing, unsuccessful things,
  Make up the sum of life.
 
Love adds anxiety to toil,        5
  And sameness doubles cares,
While one unbroken chain of work
  The flagging temper wears.
 
The light and air are dulled with smoke:
  The streets resound with noise;        10
And the soul sinks to see its peers
  Chasing their joyless joys.
 
Voices are round me; smiles are near;
  Kind welcomes to be had;
And yet my spirit is alone,        15
  Fretful, outworn, and sad.
 
A weary actor, I would fain
  Be quit of my long part;
The burden of unquiet life
  Lies heavy on my heart.        20
 
Sweet thought of God! now do thy work
  As thou hast done before;
Wake up, and tears will wake with thee,
  And the dull mood be o’er.
 
The very thinking of the thought        25
  Without or praise or prayer,
Gives light to know, and life to do,
  And marvellous strength to bear.
 
Oh, there is music in that thought,
  Unto a heart unstrung,        30
Like sweet bells at the evening time,
  Most musically rung.
 
’T is not his justice or his power,
  Beauty or blest abode,
But the mere unexpanded thought        35
  Of the eternal God.
 
It is not of his wondrous works,
  Not even that he is;
Words fail it, but it is a thought
  Which by itself is bliss.        40
 
Sweet thought, lie closer to my heart!
  That I may feel thee near,
As one who for his weapon feels
  In some nocturnal fear.
 
Mostly in hours of gloom thou com’st,        45
  When sadness makes us lowly,
As though thou wert the echo sweet
  Of humble melancholy.
 
I bless thee, Lord, for this kind check
  To spirits over free!        50
  More helpless need of thee!
And for all things that make me feel.
 
 
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