And view with kindling gaze far fields of bliss,
Condemn not him who sits at Marah's fountain,
Or wanders blindly through the wilderness.
And ye who sail, calm hands of faith uplifting,
By chart and compass, with your port in sight,
O! pity him who floats, bewildered, drifting,
Upon an unknown sea, amid the night.
A glorious thing is faith___that scales the mountain:
That rides secure where unbelief must sink.
Ye say there pours for all a ceaseless fountain;
Yet___pity him that thirsts and cannot drink.
Ye offer him your creed; he asks "Whence is it___
From heaven, or of men?" and to your grief,
He doubts and questions, and at last denies it.
Is he to blame? Can one compel belief?
Condemn him not. His feet are bruised and weary
With wandering, to and fro; his aching- breast,
So sore with longing; in the darkness dreary
He gropes for light, and prays in vain for rest.
But, if he say: I will stop here, and hither
Will I bring all my blocks and build my tower.
And will not, henceforth, wander any-whither___
He rests___but ceases thinking from that hour,
Better to wander, still, a little season___
Better to drift at night on unknown seas___
Than rest in creeds untried by test of reason___
Better the doubter's pain than stagnant ease.
__Ellen P. Allerton.
Walls of Corn and Other Poems
Ellen P. Allerton
(Hiawatha, KS: Harrington Printing Company. 1894)