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Of an intolerable knowledge pressed her down
With weary wishes to know more, or less.
For all she knew was like a broken word
Inscribed upon the fragment of a ring;

And all she heard was like a troubled strain
Preluding music that is never played.

Then she remembered in her sad unrest,

The Master’s parting word, — “ a path to peace,” —

And turned again to seek him with her grief.

She found him in a hollow of the hills

Beside a little spring that issued forth

From broken rocks and filled an emerald cup

With never-failing water. There he sat,

With waiting looks that welcomed her afar,

And smiling lips that gently bade her speak.

“ I know that thou hast heard, my child,” he said,

“For all the wonder of the world of sound

Is written in thy face. But hast thou heard,

Among the many voices, one of peace E‘

And is thy heart that hears the secret thoughts,

The hidden wishes and desires of men,

Content with hearing ? Art thou satisfied P ”

" Nay, Master," she replied, “ thou knowest well

That I am not at rest, nor have I heard

The voice of perfect peace. For all I hear

Brings me disquiet and a troubled mind.

The evil voices in the souls of men,

Voices of rage and cruelty and fear

Have not dismayed me; for I have perceived

The voices of the good, the kind, the true

Are more in number and excel in strength.

There is more love than hate, more hope than fear,

In the mixed murmur of the human heart.

But while I listen to the mighty sound,

One thing torments me, and destroys my rest

And presses me with dull, unceasing pain.

For out of all the minds of all mankind,

And through all voices of unuttered thought,

There rises evermore a questioning voice

That asks the meaning of this widespread world

And finds no answer,—asks, and asks again,

With patient pleading or with wild complaint,

But wakens no response, except the sound

Of other questions, wandering to and fro,

From other souls in doubt. And this one voice

Rises above all others that I hear,

And binds them up together into one,

Until the mingled murmur of the world

Sounds through the secret places of my heart

Like an eternal question, vainly asked,

By every human soul that thinks and feels,

And vainly echoed back, without reply.

This is the heaviness that weighs me down,

And this the pain that will not let me rest.

Therefore, dear Master, shut the gates again,

And let me live in silence as before !

Or else, — and if there is indeed a gate

Unopened yet, through which I might receive

An answer in the voice of perfect peace —- ”

She ceased ; and in her upward faltering tone
The question echoed.
Then the Master said:
“ There is another gate, not yet unclosed.
For through the outer portals of the ear
Only the outer voice of things may pass;
And through the middle doorways of the mind
Only the half-formed voice of human thoughts,

Uncertain and perplexed with endless doubt; But through the inmost gate the spirit hears The voice of that great Spirit who is Life. Beneath the tones of living things, He breathes A deeper tone than ever ear hath heard ;

And underneath the troubled thoughts of men, He thinks forever, and His thought is peace. Behold, I touch thee once again, my child : The third and last of those three hidden gates That closed around thy soul and shut thee in, Falls open now, and thou shalt truly hear.”

Then Vera heard. The spiritual gate
Was opened softly as a full-blown flower
Unfolds its heart to welcome in the dawn,
And on her listening face there shone a light
Of still amazement and completed joy
In the full gift of hearing.

What she heard
I cannot tell ; nor could she ever tell
In words; because all human words are vain ;
There is no speech nor language to express
The secret messages of God, that make
Perpetual music in the hearing heart.
Below the voice of waters, and above

The wandering voice of winds, and underneath

The song of birds, and through all varying tones

0f living things that fill the world with sound,

God spoke to her, and all she heard was peace.

So when the Master questioned, “ Dost thou hear 3’ ”

She answered, “ Yea, at last I hear.” And then

He asked her once again, “ What hearest thou ?

What means the voice of Life ? ” She answered, “ Love !

For love is life, and they who do not love

Are not alive. But every soul that loves,

Lives in the heart of God and hears Him speak.”

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