The Spirit of Unrest by George Essex Evans

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Speak! Heart of man! Say! hast thou never felt?
Has never o'er thy calm existence stealt
   The Spirit of Unrest?
Say! hast than never felt thyself to be
The helpless tool --- th' unwilling agency ---
   Of some unbidden guest?
The fiend which haunted Saul is with me now,
His temptings greet my ear, my throbbing brow
   Reels with fine strain.
Vainly I turn, as vainly strive to flee;
His muttered counsels follow after me.
   And echo o'er again,
Speak! Hast thou ever felt that life for thee
Had nought of purpose --- nought of purity!
   One hopeless dreary blank!
Say, hast thou felt like this, yet feared to die
--- Yes --- feared to solve life's solemn mystery,
   And, shuddering, backwards shrank?
Hast thou been driven forth in mad despair
And forced to roam, whither ye knew not where,
   Nor cared indeed to know?
Say, have the tones of all you hold most dear
Meaningless fallen on your leaden ear
   And failed to soothe your woe?
Oh speak! Reply! A tortured brother's cry
Of agony demands thy sympathy.
   From me for e'er hath gone
God's fairest gift --- affection's natural springs ---
And now I look on my life's dearest things
   Indifferent or with scorn.
Oh dreaded demon! Well I know thy power
To thus assail us. In our weakest hour
   An angel's form assume,
And in the borrowed garments of a god
To lead us from the path the just have trod
   And lure us to our doom.
Oh! God Omniscient, from my tortured soul
This awful load of misery unroll!
   Remove! defeat! this fiend,
And cast him howling loud with baffled yell
Back from this hell --- my heart --- to that great hell
   From which he first was weaned.
Oh, God Omniscient, let there never be
A barrier 'twixt thy sinful child and thee!
   Bring Heaven more near,
Lift Earth t'wards Heaven --- bring Heaven closer Earth,
And teach us children of a sinful birth
   To trust and love and fear.

First published in The Queenslander, 14 April 1883 and in The Brisbane Courier on the same day.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 14, 2012 9:57 AM.

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