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Mercy Philbrick's Choice by Helen Hunt Jackson
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MERCY PHILBRICK'S CHOICE.


1876




I.

_To one who found us on a starless night,
All helpless, groping in a dangerous way,
Where countless treacherous hidden pitfalls lay,
And, seeing all our peril, flashed a light
To show to our bewildered, blinded sight,
By one swift, clear, and piercing ray,
The safe, sure path,--what words could reach the height
Of our great thankfulness? And yet, at most,
The most he saved was this poor, paltry life
Of flesh, which is so little worth its cost,
Which eager sows, but may not stay to reap,
And so soon breathless with the strain and strife,
Its work half-done, exhausted, falls asleep._

II.

_But unto him who finds men's souls astray
In night that they know not is night at all,
Walking, with reckless feet, where they may fall
Each moment into deadlier deaths than slay