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Of an intolerable knowledge pressed her down
And all she heard was like a troubled strain
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
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
What she heard
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.”