Catholic Poetry: “Believe and Take Heart,” by John Lancaster Spalding

john-lancaster-spalding-1[1]BELIEVE AND TAKE HEART
By John Lancaster Spalding

What can console for a dead world?
We tread on dust which once was life;
To nothingness all things are hurled:
What meaning in a hopeless strife?

Time’s awful storm
Breaks but the form.

Whatever comes, whatever goes,
Still throbs the heart whereiby we live;
The primal joys still lighten woes,
And time which steals doth also give.

Fear not, be brave:
God- can thee save.

The essential truth of life remains,
Its goodness and its beauty too,
Pure love’s unutterable gains,
And hope which trills us through and through :

God has not fled.
Souls are not dead.

Not in most ancient Palestine,
Nor in the lightsome air of Greece,
Were human struggles more divine,
More blessed with guerdon of increase:

Take thou thy stand
In the workers’ band.

Joyce Kilmer, ed., Dreams and Images: An Anthology of Catholic Poets (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1917), 244-245.

NOTE: John Lancaster Spalding (1840-1916) was Bishop of Peoria, Illinois, from 1877 until his death in 1916.  

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