To My Soul

Tired and worn, and wearisome for love

Of some immortal hope beyond the grave,

Thy soul thou frettest like the prisoned dove

That now is sick to rest, and now doth crave

To cleave the upward sky with sudden wing !

The heaven is clear and boundless, and thy flight

To some new land might be a joyous thing,

Within this cage of clay there is no light ;

Glimpses between its mortal bars there be

That bring a powerful longing to be free,

And tones that reach the ear mysteriously

When thou art wrapt in thy divinest dream.

Yet thou art but the plaything and the slave

Of some strange power that wears thy strength away—

Slowly and surely, which thou dar’st not brave

Because pale men in some tradition say

It is God that would not have thee ‘scape

The torture that He wills to be thy fate.

‘Tis but a tyrant’s dream, and born of hate ;

Then, soul, be not disquieted with doubt ;

Step to the brink-this hand shall let thee out.