Standing alone, in vale or mountain-top,
Upon the grassy plain or ocean shore,
Or far away upon a ship at sea,
We are the middle of the Universe.
Around us as a centre, Earth and Heaven
Describe their mystic circles evermore.
We move; and all the radii shape themselves
To the one point and focus of our eyes.
But in our mental life we disobey
The law of circles: on the outer verge
We stand for ever, sometimes looking down
Upon extraneous evil far removed
Beyond the bound of Earth's circumference,
Adown dark tangents infinitely stretched,
Through gloomy Chaos, troubled by Despair.
At other times we seek the sunniest verge,
The amber and the purple blooms of Heaven,
And strive with yearning eyes, made dim by tears,
To pierce the secrets of a happier state.
Exulting are we now, — and now forlorn.
Lord grant us wisdom! grant that we may stand
In the fair middle of the spiritual world,
Undarken'd by the glooms of utter night,
Undazzled by the noontide glow of day.
True wisdom and serenity of soul
Dwell in the centre, and avoid extremes.
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