Work (What are we set on earth for? ...)

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

What are we set on earth for? Say, to toil --
Nor seek to leave thy tending of the vines,
For all the heat o' the day, till it declines,
And Death's mild curfew shall from work assoil.
God did anoint thee with his odorous oil,
To wrestle, not to reign; and He assigns
All thy tears over, like pure crystallines.
For younger fellow-workers of the soil
To wear for amulets. So others shall
Take patience, labor, to their heart and hand,
From thy hand, and thy heart, and thy brave cheer,
And God's grace fructify through thee to all.
The least flower, with a brimmning cup, may stand.
And share its dew-drop with another near.


The Poems Of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Volume 1
Copyright 1853
C. S. Francis & Co., 262 Broadway, New York
Crosby & Nichols, Boston

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