There are those who deem they know me well,
And smile as I tell them "nay!"

There are those who deem they know me well,
And smile as I tell them "nay!"
Who think they may clearly and carelessly tell
Each living drop in my heart's deep well,
And lightly enter its inmost cell;
But little (how little!) know they!

How should they know me?  My soul is a maze
Where I wander alone, alone;
Never a footfall there was heard,
Never a mortal hand hath stirred
The silence-curtain that hangs between
Outer and inner, nor eye hath seen
What is only and ever my own.

They have entered indeed the vestibule,
For its gate is opened wide,
High as the roof, and I welcome all
Who will visit my warm reception-hall,
And utter a long and loving call
To some who are yet outside.

I would lead each guest to a place of rest;
All should be calm and bright;
Then a lulling flow of melody,
And a crystal draught of sympathy,
And odorous blossoms of kindly thought,
With golden fruit of deed, be brought
From the chambers out of sight.

Some I would take with a cordial hand,
And lead them round the walls;
Showing them many a storied screen,
Many a portrait, many a scene,
Deep-cut carving, and outlined scroll;
Passing quickly where shadows roll,
Slowly where sunshine falls.

They do not know, and they cannot see
That strong-hinged, low-arched door,
Though I am passing in and out,
From gloom within to light without,
Or from gloom without to light within;
None can ever an entrance win,
None!  for evermore.

It is a weird and wondrous realm,
Where I often hold my breath
At the unseen things which there I see,
At the mighty shapes which beckon to me,
At the visions of woe and ecstasy,
At the greetings of life and death.

They rise, they pass, they melt away,
In an ever-changing train;
I cannot hold them or tell their stay,
Or measure the time of their fleeting away;
As grim as night, and as fair as day,
They vanish and come again.

I wander on through the strange domain,
Marvelling ever and aye;
Marvelling how around my feet
All the opposites seem to meet,
The dark, the light, the chill, the glow,
The storm, the calm, the fire, the snow,
How can it be?  I do not know.
Then how, oh how, can they?

What am I and how?  If reply there be,
In unsearchable chance 't is cast.
Though the soaring spirit of restless man
Might the boundary line of the universe scan.
And measure and map its measureless plan,
The gift of self-knowlege were last!

~ Frances Ridley Havergal

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