The creeds he wrought of dream and thought
Fall from him at the touch of life,
His old gods fail him in the strife-
Withdrawn, the heavens he sought!

Vanished, the miracles that led,
The cloud at noon, the flame at night;
The vision that he wing'd and sped
Falls backward, baffled, from the height;

Yet in the wreck of these he stands
Upheld by something grim and strong;
Some stubborn instinct lifts a song
And nerves him, heart and hands:

He does not dare to call it hope;-
It is not aught that seeks reward-

Nor faith, that up some sunward slope
Runs aureoled to meet its lord;

It touches something elder far
Than faith or creed or thought in man,
It was ere yet these lived and ran
Like light from star to star;

It touches that stark, primal need
That from unpeopled voids and vast
Fashioned the first crude, childish creed,-
And still shall fashion, till the last!

For one word is the tale of men:
They fling their icons to the sod,
And having trampled down a god
They seek a god again!

Stripped of his creeds inherited,
Bereft of all his sires held true,
Amid the wreck of visions dead
He thrills at touch of visions new. . . .

He wings another Dream for flight. . . .
He seeks beyond the outmost dawn
A god he set there . . . and, anon,
Drags that god from the height!

. . . . . .

But aye from ruined faiths and old
That droop and die, fall bruised seeds;
And when new flowers and faiths unfold
They're lovelier flowers, they're kindlier creeds.