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The Life For Which I Long

by John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier, American Romantic poet and abolitionist, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts on December 17, 1807, and died on September 7, 1892. He is considered a Fireside Poet, or part of a group of New England authors that wrote material very suitable to be read as entertainment to members of a family, often read aloud in front of a residential fireplace.


When on my day of light the night is falling, 
 And in the winds from unsunned spaces blown, 
I hear far voices out of darkness calling 
 My feet to paths unknown.

Thou who hast made my home of life so pleasant, 
 Leave not its tenant when its wall decay; 
O love divine, O Helper ever present, 
 Be Thou my help and stay!

Be near me when all else is from my drifting, 
 Earth, sky, home's picture, days of shade and shine, 
And kindly faces to my own uplifting 
 The love which answers mine.

I have but Thee, O Father! Let Thy spirit 
 Be with me, then, to comfort and uphold; 
No gate of pearl, no branch of palm I merit, 
 Nor street of shining gold.

Suffice it if, my good and ill unreckoned, 
 And both forgiven through Thy 'bounding grace, 
I find myself Thy hands familiar beckoned 
 Unto my fitting place.

Some humble door among Thy many mansions, 
 Some sheltering shade where sin and striving sees, 
And flows forever through heaven's green expansions 
 The river of Thy peace.

There, from the music round about me stealing, 
 I fain would learn the new and holy song, 
And find at last, beneath Thy trees of healing, 
 The life of which I long.


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