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Eve of October 9th, 1863.

All day the clouds had been drifting,
Drifting with wind and with rain;
All day my heart had been aching,
Aching with sorrowful pain.


All day my brain had been thinking,
All day my fingers had wrought,
Spite the wild whirl of the tempest,
Shaping the deed from the thought.


What with the anguish of spirit,
What with the rain and the toil,
That was a day whose veiled merit
My angel could claim as his spoil.


Yet, sweetness of God's consolation!
Of Love ne'er forgetting its own!
Far over that dark day of autumn
A sunset of beauty was thrown.


A gleam, like the smile of a martyr
Whose palm-branch and halo are won,
Flooded forest, and meadow, and homestead,
Till tempest and trouble were gone.


O life's day of grief and temptation!
O struggle of right with the wrong!
The battle is wearily waging,
And only God's angels are strong.


Yet, far on the western horizon,
True soul, battle-scarred, but well shriven,
O'er all the barbed pangs of the death-bed
Will gleam the first glories of heaven!