Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
Poems Subjective and Reminiscent
At Eventide
POOR and inadequate the shadow-play
  Of gain and loss, of waking and of dream,
  Against life’s solemn background needs must seem
At this late hour. Yet, not unthankfully,
I call to mind the fountains by the way,        5
The breath of flowers, the bird-song on the spray,
Dear friends, sweet human loves, the joy of giving
And of receiving, the great boon of living
  In grand historic years when Liberty
Had need of word and work, quick sympathies        10
For all who fail and suffer, song’s relief,
Nature’s uncloying loveliness; and chief,
  The kind restraining hand of Providence,
  The inward witness, the assuring sense
Of an Eternal Good which overlies        15
The sorrow of the world, Love which outlives
All sin and wrong, Compassion which forgives
To the uttermost, and Justice whose clear eyes
Through lapse and failure look to the intent,
And judge our frailty by the life we meant.


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