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Atheism (3)

Beware of doubt – faith is the subtle chain,
Which binds us to the Infinite: the voice
Of a deep life within, that will remain
Until we crowd it thence. We may rejoice

With an exceeding joy, and make our life,
Ay, this external life, become a part
Of that which is within, o’erwrought and rife
With faith, that child-like blessedness of heart.

The order and the harmony inborn
With a perpetual hymning crown our way,
Till callousness, and selfishness, and scorn,

Shall pass as clouds where scatheless lightnings play.
Cling to thy faith, ‘tis higher than the thought
That questions of thy faith, the cold external doubt.


The Infinite speaks in our silent hearts
And draws our being to Himself, as deep
Calleth unto deep. He, who all thought imparts,
Demands the pleadge, the bond of soul to keep:

But reason, wandering from its fount afar,
And stooping downward, breaks the subtle chain
That binds it to itself, like star to star,
And sun to sun, upward to God again:

Doubt, once confirmed, tolls the dead spirit’s knell,
And man is but a clod of earth, to die
Like the poor beast that in his shambles fell –

More miserable doom, than that to lie
In trembling torture, like believing ghosts
Who, thought divorced from good, bow to the Lord of Hosts


Doubt, Cypress crowned, upon a ruined arch
Amid the shapely temple overthrown,
Exultant, stays at length her onward march.
Her victim, all with earthliness o’ergrown,

Hath sunk himself to earth to perish there;
His thoughts are outward, all his love a blight,
Dying, deluding are his hopes though fair –
And death, the spirit’s everlasting night.

Thus, midnight travellers, on some mountain steep,
Hear far above the avalanche boom down,
Starting the glacier echoes from their sleep,

And lost in glens to human foot unknown –
The death-plunge of the lost come to their ear,
And silence claims again her region cold and drear.

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