The Goal (Poems of Progress)

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   All your wonderful inventions,
      All your houses vast and tall,
   All your great gun-fronted vessels,
      Every fort and every wall,
   With the passing of the ages,
      They shall pass and they shall fall.

   As you sit among the idols
      That your avarice gave birth,
   As you count the hoarded treasures
      That you think of priceless worth,
   Time is digging tombs to hide them
      In the bosom of the earth.

   There shall come a great convulsion
      Or a rushing tidal wave,
   Or a sound of mighty thunders
      From a subterranean cave,
   And a boasting world’s possessions
      Shall be buried in one grave.

   From the Centuries of Silence
      We are bringing back again
   Buried vase and bust and column
      And the gods they worshipped then,
   In the strange unmentioned cities
      Built by prehistoric men.

   Did they steal, and lie, and slaughter?
      Did they steep their souls in shame?
   Did they sell eternal virtues
      Just to win a passing fame?
   Did they give the gold of honour
      For the tinsel of a name?

   We are hurrying all together
      Toward the silence and the night;
   There is nothing worth the seeking
      But the sun-kissed moral height—
   There is nothing worth the doing
      But the doing of the right.


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