Aeropagus

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Aeropagus
by Edith Wharton
March 1880

WHERE suns chase suns in rhythmic dance,
Where seeds are springing from the dust,
Where mind sways mind with spirit-glance,
High court is held, and law is just.

No hill alone, a sovereign bar;
Through space the fiery sparks are whirled
That draw and cling, and shape a star, --
That burn and cool, and form a world

Whose hidden forces hear a voice
That leads them by a perfect plan:
"Obey," it cries, "with steadfast choice,
Law shall complete what law began.

"Refuse, -- behold the broken arc,
The sky of all its stars despoiled;
The new germ smothered in the dark,
The snow-pure soul with sin assoiled."

The voice still saith, "While atoms weave
Both world and soul for utmost joy,
Who sins must suffer, -- no reprieve;
The law that quickens must destroy."


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1937, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.