Life is a Privilege (Poems of Progress)

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   Life is a privilege. Its youthful days
   Shine with the radiance of continuous Mays.
   To live, to breathe, to wonder and desire,
   To feed with dreams the heart’s perpetual fire;
   To thrill with virtuous passions and to glow
   With great ambitions—in one hour to know
   The depths and heights of feeling—God! in truth
   How beautiful, how beautiful is youth!

   Life is a privilege. Like some rare rose
   The mysteries of the human mind unclose.
   What marvels lie in earth and air and sea,
   What stores of knowledge wait our opening key,
   What sunny roads of happiness lead out
   Beyond the realms of indolence and doubt,
   And what large pleasures smile upon and bless
   The busy avenues of usefulness.

   Life is a privilege. Though noontide fades
   And shadows fall along the winding glades;
   Though joy-blooms wither in the autumn air,
   Yet the sweet scent of sympathy is there.
   Pale sorrow leads us closer to our kind,
   And in the serious hours of life we find
   Depths in the soul of men which lend new worth
   And majesty to this brief span of earth.

   Life is a privilege. If some sad fate
   Sends us alone to seek the exit gate;
   If men forsake us as the shadows fall,
   Still does the supreme privilege of all
   Come in that reaching upward of the soul
   To find the welcoming presence at the goal,
   And in the knowledge that our feet have trod
   Paths that lead from and must lead back to God.

 

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