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Now at last the day is dawning when Serapion
makes his gift; Felix kneels before the threshold, hardly dares
his eyes to lift.
Now the cavern door uncloses, now the saint
above him stands, Blesses him without a word, and leaves a token
in his hands.
'Tis the guerdon of thy waiting — look ! thou
happy pilgrim, look ! — Nothing but a tattered fragment of an old papy.
Read! perchance the clue to guide thee tangled
in the words may lie : " Raise the stone, and thou shalt find Me; cleave the
wood, and there am I.”
Can it be the mighty Master spake such simple
words as these ? Can it be that men must seek Him, at their
toil, 'mid rocks and trees ?
Disappointed, heavy-hearted, from the Moun
tain of the Bird Felix mournfully descended, questioning the
Not for him a sacred dwelling, far above the
haunts of men : He must turn his footsteps backward to the
common life again.
From a quarry by the river, hollowed out
below the hills, Rose the clattering voice of labour, clanking
hammers, clinking drills.
Dust, and noise, and hot confusion made a
Babel of the spot: There, among the lowliest workers, Felix
sought and found his lot.
Now he swung the ponderous mallet, smote
the iron in the rock Muscles quivering, tingling, throbbing – blow
on blow and shock on shock;
Now he drove the willow wedges, wet them till
they swelled and split, With their silent strength, the fragment - sent
it thundering down the pit.
Now the groaning tackle raised it; now the roll
ers made it slide; Harnessed men, like beasts of burden, drew it
to the river-side.
Now the palm-trees must be riven, massive
timbers hewn and dressed Rafts to bear the stones in safety on the rushing
Axe and auger, saw and chisel, wrought the will
of man in wood : 'Mid the many-handed labour Felix toiled, and
found it good.
Every day the blood ran fleeter through his
limbs and round his heart; Every night his sleep was sweeter, knowing he
had done his part.
Dreams of solitary saintship faded from him;
but, instead, Came a sense of daily comfort, in the toil for
Far away, across the river, gleamed the white
walls of the town Whither all the stones and timbers, day by day,
were drifted down.
There the workman saw his labour taking form
and bearing fruit, Like a tree with splendid branches rising from a
Looking at the distant city, temples, houses,
domes, and towers, Felix cried in exultation: “ All the mighty work
“ Every mason in the quarry, every builder on
the shore, Every chopper in the palm-grove, every rafts
man at the oar
“ Hewing wood and drawing water, splitting
stones and cleaving sod— All the dusty ranks of labour, in the regiment
“ March together toward His triumph, do the
task His hands prepare: Honest toil is holy service; faithful work is
praise and prayer."
So through all the heat and burden Felix felt
the sense of rest Flowing softly, like a fountain, deep within his
Felt the brotherhood of labour, rising round him
like the tide, Overflow his heart, and join him to the workers
at his side.
Oft he cheered them with his singing at the
breaking of the light, Told them tales of Christ at nooning, taught
them words of prayer at night.