Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

 
 
Our Better Moments (S357a: 1883)

 
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A communication to the Editor printed on page 2 of the Light (London) issue of 6 January 1883. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S357A.htm


To the Editor of "Light"

    Sir,--On looking over some old papers I came across the accompanying verses, written by my younger brother, Herbert Edward Wallace, in 1850, a few months before his death from yellow fever, at Para, at the early age of twenty-two. They seem to me to be so truly spiritual in feeling as to deserve preserving in your pages. I need hardly say that at that time we had neither of us heard anything of the spiritual movement.

Alfred R. Wallace.
Godalming,
December 29th, 1882.

Our Better Moments.

        Uncalled they come across the mind,
            We know not why or how,
        And with instinctive reverence
            Ignoble feelings bow;
        A power strange, yet holy too,
            Breathes through our every sense;
        Each atom of our being feels
            Its subtle influence.
        High visions, noble thinkings, flash
            Like meteors through the brain,
        If Paradise was lost to us,
            'Tis surely come again!
Better moments! Better moments! Ye are sunny angels' wings.
Sent to shed a holier radiance o'er all dim and worldly things.

        Perchance we love to watch awhile,
            In simple, child-like mood,
        The waving of the summer grass,
            The ebbing of the flood,
        And lie upon a mossy bank,
            In some secluded shade;
        When sudden, from before our gaze
            The grass--the waters--fade;
        And giving up the spirit's rein
            To unknown guiding hands,
        We float in passive confidence
            To voiceless spirit lands
Better moments! Better moments! Ye are sunny angels' wings,
Sent to shed a holier radiance o'er all dim and worldly things.

        Or sitting in a leafy wood,
            Some still and breathless hour,
        The joyous twitter of a bird
            Has strange unconscious power:
        The power to send through ev'ry nerve
            A thrill of soft delight.
        A better moment, like the dawn,
            Steals in with ambient lient.
        The soul expands, and lovingly
            Takes in its pure embrace,
        All life! all nature! high or mean,
            Of colour, tongue, or race.
Better moments! Better moments! ye are sunny angels' wings,
Sent to shed a holier radiance o'er all dim and worldly things.

        A thousand visions, scenes, and times
            Awake the better thought,
        By which our duller years of life
            Become inspired and taught.
        In olden times there rudely came
            Handwriting on the wall,
        And prostrate souls fell horror-struck
            At that wild spirit-call;
        But now God's momentary gleam
            Is sent into the soul,
        To guide uncertain wavering feet
            To life's high solemn goal.
Better moments! Better moments! Ye are sunny angels' wings,
Sent to shed a holier radiance o'er all dim and worldly things.


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