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.

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