I look down the lengthening distance
Far back to youth's valley of hope.
How strange seemed the ways of existence,
How infinite life and its scope!
What dreams, what ambitions came thronging
To people a world of my own!
How the heart in my bosom was longing,
For pleasures and places unknown.
But the hill-tops of pleasure and beauty
Were covered with mist at the dawn;
And only the rugged road Duty
Shone clear, as my feet wandered on.
I loved not the path and its leading,
I hated the rocks and the dust;
But a Voice from the Silence was pleading,
It spoke but one syllable--"Trust."
I saw, as the morning grew older,
The fair flowered hills of delight;
And the feet of my comrades grew bolder,
They hurried away from my sight.
And when on the pathway I faltered,
And when I rebelled at my fate,
The Voice with assurance unaltered,
Again spoke one syllable--"Wait."
Along the hard highway I travelled
And saw, with dim vision, how soon
The morning's gold locks were unravelled,
By fingers of amorous noon.
A turn in the pathway of duty -
I stood in the perfect day's prime,
Close, close to the hillside of beauty
The Voice from the Silence said "Climb"
The road to the beautiful Regions
Lies ever through Duty's hard way.
Oh ye who go searching in legions,
Know this and be patient to-day.
- by Ella Wheeler Wilcox