University of Virginia Library

Search this document 

a web of many textures

expand section 
expand section 


Put on your mask, O living soul! and hide
Your features from the world's obtrusive eye,
As, launched upon the turbid earthy tide,
We float unheeded on its current by.
For there be rich emotions quick in thee,
Imprisoned gems, and thoughts of import sweet,
That might, whate'er their priceless rarity,
Fall sacrifice beneath unworthy feet.
I would not have the coarse and careless look
Profane the spot where my hushed step has trod,
Where conscience keeps its daily record-book
In just accordance 'twixt itself and God.
The vulgar glance would seem like baleful light,
And to my shuddering sense a thrill impart,
Like that the touch of vagrant fingers might,
Feeling in darkness round my slumbering heart!
Put on the mask, and let it haply wear
A smile, to feign it were but lightly donned,
Gayly as though you had no real share
In aught the present sly deceit beyond.
So shall you, O my soul, the meed obtain
Frivolity to folly ever brings;
But not one tassel of the golden grain
Worthy to shrine among your treasured things.
But, though thus hidden, there be those for whom,
When the world sees not, you may drop the mask;
Twin with yourself in feeling, give them room,
And in a warm reciprocation bask.
And let such incidents of transient joy,
Through memory's aid, delightedness impart; —
The world cannot joy's secret seeds destroy,
Sown by God's husbandmen within the heart.


Page 319
O, haste the time when, masking disallowed,
The soul stands up in grandeur unconcealed,
Of its own new-found birthright duly proud, —
The right to live in truthfulness revealed.