Poetry of Kansas

A Student's Vision

A youth with thoughtful face and forehead white,
    And mind intent on gaining knowledge,
Laid by his books and went to rest one night,
    Within his cozy room in college.
His mind with glowing thoughts of learning
    As down he laid his head to slumber;
And brilliant prospects of attainment gleamed
    In fancy's sight, in countless number.
In sleep, an angel came, as he opined,
    And offered him, as round he hovered,
All knowledge known to universal mind,
    That is, or e'er can be, discovered.
So fair a promise fired his youthful heart;
    His spirit burned with aspiration;
Such gift had fallen ne'er to mortal part;
    But___something checked his exultation.
For up before the youth a scene arose,
    Intended to suggest the measure
That knowledge has, and therefore to expose
    The meaning of the promised treasure.
He saw a world where, in one dreary spot
    There was a man with hoe and shovel,
To whom it seemed to be the weary lot
    To scan each bit of dirt and gravel.
Then spake the angel, pointing to the man:
    "His task is vast, past realizing;
Of that great world each spadeful must he scan,
    With care each handful scrutinizing.
"Of all that planet wide, from crust to core,
    Each particle must be inspected,
All slowly passing through his hands before
    His mighty work shall he perfected.
That great, round world is knowledge, hopeful
    The man at work, you, uncomplaining;
Count as your very own the whole of truth;
    'Tis yours___yet only yours through gaining,"

___John Edward Everett

Quillings In Verse
John Edward Everett
(Smith Center: ___. 1912)
Pages 36-37

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February 2, 2003 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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