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Wadsworth Longfellow, Henry - The Ladder of St Augustine



Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – from The Poems of Longfellow [printed about 1875]
from The Ladder of St Augustine

The mighty pyramids of stone
That wedge-like cleave the desert airs
When nearer seen, and better known
Are but gigantic flights of stairs

The distant mountains that uprear
Their solid bastions to the skies
Are crossed by pathways, that appear,
As we to higher levels rise

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight
But they, while their companions slept
Were toiling upward in the night

Standing on what too long we bore
With shoulders bent and downcast eyes
We may discern – unseen before -
A path to higher destinies

The source of the experience

Wadsworth Longfellow, Henry

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