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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.
Nor deem the irrevocable Past
As wholly wasted, wholly vain, If rising on its wrecks, at last,
To something nobler we attain.
Dealing its dole, The Curfew-bell
Is beginning to toll.
Cover the embers,
And put out the light; Toil comes with the morning,
And rest with the night.
Dark grow the windows,
And quenched is the fire; Sound fades into silence,
All footsteps retire.
No voice in the chambers,
No sound in the hall; Sleep and oblivion
Reign over all!
The book is completed,
And closed, like the day; And the hand that has written it
Lays it away.
Dim grow its fancies,
Forgotten they lie; Like coals in the ashes,
They darken and die.
Song sinks into silence,
The story is told,
The hearth-stone is cold.
Darker and darker
The black shadows fall; Sleep and oblivion
Reign over all.