Would we not give earth’s fairest toys away?

Follow the white path

Some words to pause amid life’s fleeting pursuits,and reflect beyond the grave.

Sometimes amid the hurry, toil and strife,
The claims, the urgencies, the whirl of life;
The soul, perhaps in silence of the night –
Has flashes – transient intervals of light.

When things to come, without a shade of doubt.
In terrible reality stand out;
These lucid moments suddenly present
A glance of truth, as tho’ the heavens were rent;

And thro’ the chasm of pure celestial light,
The future breaks upon the startled sight:
Life’s vain pursuits, and Time’s advancing pace,
Appear with death-bed clearness face to face;

And immortality’s expanse sublime,
In just proportion to the speck of time:
While Death, uprising from the silent shades,
Shows his dark outline ere the vision fades;
In strong relief against the blazing sky,
Appears the shadow as it passes by;

And though o’erwhelming to the dazzled brain,
These are the moments when the mind is sane:
For then a hope of heaven, a Saviour’s Cross,
Seem what they are, and all things else but loss.

Oh! to be ready – ready for that day.
Would we not give earth’s fairest toys away?
Alas! how soon its interests cloud the view.
Rush in, and plunge us in the world anew.

– Jane Taylor, The Invalid’s Hymn Book (ed. Harriet Kierman, 1854), xxxvi.