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by Ellen P. Allerton

Is it better never to hope, than to hope in vain?
Is it better never to strive, lest we never attain?
Is it better to cling to the shore and leave untried
Life's wide, deep sea, for dread of its storm and tide?

Who ventures naught, he surely shall never win;
He naught shall finish, who never doth aught begin;
The sun may shine and the heavens may shed its rain,
But only the sower may harvest his golden grain.

To-morrow, we know, is dark with its misty veil;
The light on the path to-day is but dim and pale;
Blindly we grope our way—but 'tis better so—
What God hath hidden 'tis better we should not know.

Nobler and braver is he who stakes his all,
And takes his loss or gain as the chances may fall,
Than he who folds his hands and idly waits,
Till the shadows gather darkly about his gates.

Shall we turn our ear away from a sweet refrain,
Lest the pleasant song may turn to a diqje of pain?
Shall we close our eyes to the ray in the midnight gloom,
Lest it prove a lure that leads to the door of a tomb?

Is it better never to love, lest love mistake?
The passionate heart may quiver and ache and break—
Yet give us the warm, rich wine, though well we know
That dregs as bitter as death may lie below.

We sigh for the joys that were coming, and never came;
We sit in the dark and weep, with our hearts aflame;
We feel the crush and grind of the silent mill—
Feel the crush and grind, while our lips are still.

What, then! shall we spurn our life as a broken thing?
Shall we fling a curse in the face of Heaven's King?
Happy is he who keepeth his trust through all;
He may shrink and shiver, and falter, but shall not fall.

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