A wise old mother is Nature-
She guideth her children's feet
In many a flowery pathway;
And her strong life-currents beat,
Sometimes in intricate channels-
As a mountain stream may run-
But ever her purpose triumphs,
And ever the goal is won.
Her eyes are the eyes of Argus,
And she utters her decree:
The brook shall come to the river,
And the river shall reach the sea.

We have failed to read the riddle
Of the impulse and desire,
That burn in the soul of being,
Like the sun's great heart of fire,
Impelling the bird, storm-drifted,
To come to its sheltered nest,
And the mother to bring her baby
The warmth of her shielding breast;
And the blossom to yield its honey
As the spoil of the bandit bee-
While the brook goes down to the river
And the river reaches the sea.

But whatsoever we name it-
Be it Destiny, or Fate-
It leads the prince to his kingdom,
The king to his palace gate;
The lover shall taste the kisses
That grow on the maiden's lips;
And safe, in the land-locked harbor,
Shall be moored the wand'ring ships;
And the soul shall gain its heaven-
Where the white-robed angels be-
And the brook shall blend with the river
And the river shall wed the sea.

More verses by Andrew Jackson Downing

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