When midnight ghosts stir me awake
and haunt me in my bed,
when all I love seems put at stake
in the games within my head,
then I shall rise and pray.
When midnight hours sap my powers
and leave me dun and weary,
and worries bloom in sick’ning flowers
in a world all bleak and dreary,
then I shall call it day
and, lighting candles, pray.
That man’s a slave who dwells in fears
and cannot grow t’embrace them,
and he shall forfeit all his years
who babish grips time’s hem.
All things shall slip him by who waits
for alarms and alarums;
all things are lost to give and take
in Doubt’s sultry harems.
A man’s of faith or not a man;
he lives by lights divine
or perishes slowly in darkling fens.
Then let him light a flame.
Let him rise against the night
that trammels him to smallness;
let him make his heart so bright
that it leads the way to purpose.
Then what are slumberless midnight watches
but so many golden chances?
What are sleepless midnight marches
but another kind of dances?
Only let him rise and pray!
And if these midnight ghosts should stir
and grimacing should surround him,
and if the ghouls of fright should whir
within his lating dream,
then may he enlist them to his cause
and gather them around him,
companions to his ordered laws
and to his will and wisdom bounded.
Let him, only let him, I say,
make of even his night his day;
and let him, lighting candles, pray.