Yet life is not a vision nor a prayer, But stubborn work; she may not shun her task. After the first compassion, none will spare Her portion and her work achieved, to ask. She pleads for respite,—she will come ere long When, resting by the roadside, she is strong. Nay, for the hurrying throng of passers-by Will crush her with their onward-rolling stream. Much must be done before the brief light die; She may not loiter, rapt in the vain dream. With unused trembling hands, and faltering feet, She staggers forth, her lot assigned to meet. But when she fills her days with duties done, Strange vigor comes, she is restored to health. New aims, new interests rise with each new sun, And life still holds for her unbounded wealth. All that seemed hard and toilsome now proves small, And naught may daunt her,—she hath strength for all.
Emma Lazarus - 1849-1887
Critic and Poet
An Apologue No man had ever heard a nightingale, When once a keen-eyed naturalist was stirred To study and define—what is a bird, To classify by rote and book, nor fail To mark its structure and to note the scale Whereon its song might possibly be heard. Thus far, no farther;—so he spake the word. When of a sudden,—hark, the nightingale! Oh deeper, higher than he could divine That all-unearthly, untaught strain! He saw The plain, brown warbler, unabashed. "Not mine" (He cried) "the error of this fatal flaw. No bird is this, it soars beyond my line, Were it a bird, 'twould answer to my law."