Anima Mundi by Richard Moncton Milnes

"Anima Mundi"—of thyself existing,
Without diversity or change to fear,
Say, has this life to which we cling persisting,
Part in communion with thy steadfast sphere?
Does thy serene eternity sublime
Embrace the slaves of Circumstance and Time?
Could we remain continually content
To heap fresh pleasure on the coming day,
Could we rest happy in the sole intent
To make the hours more graceful or more gay,
Then must the essence of our nature be
That of the beasts that perish, not of Thee.
But if we mourn, not because time is fleeting,
Not because life is short and some die young,
But because parting ever follows meeting;
And, while our hearts with constant loss are wrung,
Our minds are tossed in doubt from sea to sea,
Then may we claim community with thee.
We cannot live by instincts—forced to let
To-morrow's wave obliterate our to-day—
See faces only once—read and forget—
Behold Truth's rays prismatically play
About our mortal eye and never shine
In one white daylight, simple and divine.
We would erect some thought the world above,
And dwell in it for ever—we make
Some moment of young Friendship or First-love
Into a dream, from which we would not wake;
We would contrast our action with repose,
Like the deep stream that widens as it flows.
We would be somewise as Thou art,
Not sprig, and bud, and flower, and fade and fall;
Not fix our intellects on some scant part
Of Nature, but enjoy or feel it all.
We would assert the privilege of a soul,
In that it knows—to understand the Whole.
If such things are within us—God is good—
And flight is destined for the callow wing,
And the high appetite implies the food,
And souls must reach the level whence they spring;
O Life of very Life! set free our Powers,
Hasten the travail of the yearning hours.
Thou! to whom old Philosophy bent low,
To the wise few mysteriously revealed;
Thou! whom each humble Christian worships now,
In the poor hamlet and the open field;
Once an Idea—new Comforter and Friend,
Hope of the human Heart! Descend! Descend!