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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Poetry

Live for Something

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Transcript from original newspaper article: -


Live for something, let thy purpose
Be as broad as yonder sky;
Place the standard – speak the watchword,
Point the golden arrows high.
Daring souls have gone before thee,
Making smoother still the way;
Face the danger – meet the tempest,
Craven hearts alone delay.

Live for something, through the Father
Gave thee not the grasping mind,
Fill the measure of thy talent,
Spurning not the task designed.
They are worse than dead, who basely
Leave the field as yet unwon;
Bend thy ear and nerve thy spirit,
Though it be the signal gun.

Live for something, hold no treaty
With the demon of despair,
Keep thy forehead to the sunlight,
Thou shalt see the promise there.
Thus the olden prophets struggled,
Through the flames that upward rolled,
Thus the great men of the present,
Have their glowing names enrolled.

Fear not; cowards may be neat thee,
With their tongues to poison faith,
Lend no ear but face thy duty,
Even unto chains and death.
Better far to die relying,
On some truth the crowd had spurned,
Than to live forever sighing,
That no stone is left unturned.

Live for something; make thy mission
Worthy of a noble soul,
Stand not trembling least the life bark
Strike against the fatal shoal.
Spread the sails, and favoring breezes
Yet shall waft thee safely on,
‘Till the “islands of the blessed”
Lift their green shores to the sun.

Live for something, from the ages
Come a deep prophetic tone,
Speaks through time’s mouldy caverns,
“Make the hidden things thine own.”
Grasp and give with hand unsparing
For the future hath its store;
And the world, like hungry children,
Cries unceasing, “Give me more!”

Live for something, though a Newton
Sent his great thought round the spheres
Learned their secrets, found their motions,
Stored them up for future years.
Though with simple kite a Franklin
Drew the lightening to his side –
There are richer pearls ungathered,
Greater power yet unapplied.

Live for something! win a garland,
That shall stand the blast of time –
‘Mid the shrinking forms around thee,
Fearless tread the path sublime;
Then, though but a seeming cipher
In the long Eternal sum,
Thou shalt sit beside the Father,
In the Kingdom yet to come.

Live for Something