Jacob and Pharaoh

How rarely boyhood loves to paint
In glowing tints his future bright,
A picture where no line is faint —
Whose very clouds are touch'd with light.

And girlhood hails a world unknown
And reads it in her own glad dreams,
As lilies see themselves alone
Reflected in their azure streams.

But rosy clouds that morning brings,
Ere noon may deepen into thunder —
And life's dark stream has sterner things
Than silver lilies growing under.

So had he found, the Patriarch old,
Who, reckoning o'er by Pharaoh's chair
His hundred years and thirty, told
How evil, and how few they were.

One lingering look he backward cast —
Those long dim years lay steep'd in gloom,
And through the mist that wrapp'd the past
He saw but shapes of sorrow loom.

The parting of his youth was there,
The cheated love in Leah's bower,
The lingering toil, the long despair
For Joseph lost in evil hour.

And such a reckoning thine must be,
When time shall disenchant thine eyes,
Fond youth! and life's reality
Break on thee with a sad surprise.

But not for this bright hope forego
Or scant one glowing dream of pleasure,
Though life shall never find below
A cup to hold thy brimming measure.

For thoughts of great and glorious things
That move thy soul with inward force,
Are but thy spirit's secret springs,
Uprising to their awful source —

The touches of a hand divine
Still lingering on thy soiled face —
Throbs in that deathless heart of thine
That pants for its immortal place.

Dream on! but pitch thine hopes still higher,
Like eagles soaring to the sun;
The wildest stretch of man's desire
Can ne'er surpass what Christ has won.

There, where for Him down sunless skies
Eternal Hallelujahs stream —
The truth of thine ideal lies,
The substance of thy youthful dream.
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