Why this Longing? by Charles Mackay

Why this longing, clay-clad spirit?
Why this fluttering of thy wings?
Why this striving to discover
Hidden and transcendent things?
Be contented in thy prison,
Thy captivity shall cease—
Taste the good that smiles before thee;
Restless spirit, be at peace!
With the roar of wintry forests,
With the thunder's crash and roll,
With the rush of stormy water,
Thou wouldst sympathize, O soul!
Thou wouldst ask them mighty questions
In a language of their own,
Untranslatable to mortals,
Yet not utterly unknown.
Thou wouldst fathom Life and Being,
Thou wouldst see through Birth and Death,
Thou wouldst solve the eternal riddle—
Thou a speck, a ray, a breath,
Thou wouldst look at stars and systems,
As if thou couldst understand
All the harmonies of Nature,
Struck by an Almighty hand.
With thy feeble logic, tracing
Upward from effect to cause,
Thou art foiled by Nature's barriers,
And the limits of her laws.
Be at peace, thou struggling spirit!
Great Eternity denies
The unfolding of its secrets
In the circle of thine eyes.
Be contented with thy freedom—
Dawning is not perfect day;
There are truths thou canst not fathom,
Swaddled in thy robes of clay.
Rest in hope that if thy circle
Grow not wider here in Time,
God's Eternity shall give thee
Power of vision more sublime.
Clogged and bedded in the darkness,
Little germ abide thine hour,
Thoul't expand in proper season,
Into blossom, into flower.
Humble faith alone becomes thee
In the glooms where thou art lain:
Bright is the appointed future;
Wait—thou shalt not wait in vain.
Cease thy struggling, feeble spirit!
Fret not at thy prison bars;
Never shall thy mortal pinions
Make the circuit of the stars.
Here on Earth are duties for thee,
Suited to thine earthly scope;
Seek them, thou Immortal Spirit—
God is with thee—work in hope.