The Struggle

Why do I bid thee from my side?
The fields are pale with autumn light;
A thousand changeful shadows ride
Across the purple height.

Still silent drops the fir-tree's cone
Down on the sloping path below;
The waters weave their undertone,
Why should I bid thee go?

Ah! Dearest, is it that our cup
Of mercy brimmeth o'er the brink
So full — I dare not lift it up
But pause, before I drink?

Or must we learn to understand
How sharp our dearest joys may be;
As breezes from the sailor's land
Still drive him out to sea?

He turns to greet across the foam
The fragrant gale that cheats him so —
Thou sayest that my heart is home,
And yet, I bid thee go.

Because thou hast a holier place,
Because thy days are dedicate
To serve before thy Master's face,
And at His altar wait.

Because His flock is thine to keep,
His precious gifts are thine to grant;
A strain of music sounding deep,
Set to a solemn chant.

And I would have my love to float
Another strain into thine heart,
No discord to its highest note,
One with its holiest part.

A love to sorrow and to cheer,
A love to learn thine inward cares,
To fathom somewhat of thy fear,
And mingle in thy prayers.

So sometimes in cathedral proud,
A flower that village maidens wear
Will mix its fragrance with the cloud
Of incense rolling there.

So when angelic hymns aspire,
And priestly notes are sounding grave,
The little children in the choir
Take up the glorious stave.

How quiet lie the fields to-day,
As throbbing to that golden light;
They have no harder part to play,
They will not wish for night.

Who strains too high will snap the cord,
Tho' first he bade its music flow;
My heart-strings break upon the word,
Yet must I bid thee go.
Author of original: 
Matthew Arnold
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