I The irresponsive silence of the land, The irresponsive sounding of the sea, Speak both one message of one sense to me:-- Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band Of inner solitude; we bind not thee; But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free? What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?-- And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek, And sometimes I remember days of old When fellowship seemed not so far to seek And all the world and I seemed much less cold, And at the rainbow's foot lay surely gold, And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.
II Thus am I mine own prison. Everything Around me free and sunny and at ease: Or if in shadow, in a shade of trees Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds sing And where all winds make various murmuring; Where bees are found, with honey for the bees; Where sounds are music, and where silences Are music of an unlike fashioning. Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew, And smile a moment and a moment sigh Thinking: Why can I not rejoice with you? But soon I put the foolish fancy by: I am not what I have nor what I do; But what I was I am, I am even I.
III Therefore myself is that one only thing I hold to use or waste, to keep or give; My sole possession every day I live, And still mine own despite Time's winnowing. Ever mine own, while moons and seasons bring From crudeness ripeness mellow and sanitive; Ever mine own, till Death shall ply his sieve; And still mine own, when saints break grave and sing. And this myself as king unto my King I give, to Him Who gave Himself for me; Who gives Himself to me, and bids me sing A sweet new song of His redeemed set free; he bids me sing: O death, where is thy sting? And sing: O grave, where is thy victory?