Title:  Scribner's Monthly, an illustrated magazine for the people. / Volume 22, Issue 6
Scribner and son. New York
Publication Date:
  October 1881

Poem by S. P. Driver
A Life - Lesson

SPIRIT of God ! our sullied wings 
Soar not to heights where Thou dost dwell; 
We grope among life’s meaner things, 
And grovel in its mimic hell.

Our coward souls, with spears in rest,
Halt on the edge of life’s hot fields,
There Faith, by Fear’s battalions pressed, 
The contest uncontested yields. 

With bated breath we weakly stand, 
Scared by tile rush of Action’s tide, 
Unmindful of the halcyon land 
That stretches on the other side. 

We sit at Passion’s ample feast, 
And Lust’s Circean goblets drain 
Where Folly waits, with song and jest, 
And tempts us to her mad refrain. 

Delving in Traffic’s sunless mine, 
We barter souls for Fortune’s dross, 
God’s lasting stores of good resign, 
Unheeding our eternal loss. 

We trust our all in Friendship’s grasp, 
And look for added stores of bliss; 
And lo! the poison of the asp 
Concealed within Love’s honeyed kiss! 

Sin sets her snares for trustful feet, 
And lures with Pleasure’s gilded spoils 
Then, when her triumph is complete, 
5puii~ the poor fool who dared her toils. 

Ambition’s chalice greets our lip, 
Red with the beaded wine of Fame, 
And we from seeming nectar sip 
The maddening gall of Guilt and Shame. 

Our stock-marts lift their giddy fronts 
High over Mammon’s rush and rout, 
And, if the Christ would enter once, 
We bar the unwelcome stranger out. 

For greed of gain, and Folly’s gaud, 
We forfeit manhood’s fairest dower; 
And on our brothers’ necks is trod 
Our ruthless way to place and power. 

We feed content on husks of Sin, 
Or kiss the gilded chains of Vice, 
And vainly think by fraud to win 
The road direct to Paradise. 

O fleshless bait! O damning cheat! 
O Upas shade! O syren voice! 
We curse ye all, and still our feet 
Perversely make your paths their choice! 

Great God! when come the golden years 
So long foretold—delayed so long? 
When, through Life’s harvest-rain of tears, 
Shall sighing blossom into son’? 

When shall this waste and ruin cease— 
This death-blight on our manhood’s life— 
And the clear sunlight of Thy peace 
Break through this cloudy pall of Strife? 

Thy hands, outstretched to lift us up, 
Our earthward eyes refuse to see; 
We spurn Thy mercy’s proffered cup 
To drink the dregs of misery! 

Thy “ still, small voice “ in vain appeals 
Where human babblers prate and rave, 
Though Reason’s night-shade but reveals 
The howered entrance to her grave. 

O matchless Might! with strength endow
Our puny hands to dare and do, 
And in life’s battle triumph Thou, 
Whether by many or by few!

Let Thy blest Spirit, as of old, 
Breathe down the billowy wrath of man! 
And in our chastened lives unfold 
The workings of Thy wondrous plan! 

So, on these mingled tides of death 
Thy Love’s supremest beams shall shine, 
And all above, around, beneath, 
Pay rightful homage at Thy shrine.

So, through the age foretold so long 
By poet’s lip and prophet’s pen, 
Right shall hold scepter over Wrong, 
And Eden’s garden bloom again. 

Actual images of pages.