Gateway to the Classics: Poems Every Child Should Know by Mary E. Burt
Poems Every Child Should Know by  Mary E. Burt

The Choir Invisible

"The Choir Invisible" (by George Eliot, 1819-80) is a fitting exposition in poetry of this "Shakespeare of prose."

O, may I join the choir invisible

Of those immortal dead who live again

In minds made better by their presence; live

In pulses stirred to generosity,

In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn

Of miserable aims that end with self,

In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars,

And with their mild persistence urge men's minds

To vaster issues.

May I reach

That purest heaven,—be to other souls

The cup of strength in some great agony,

Enkindle generous ardour, feed pure love,

Beget the smiles that have no cruelty,

Be the sweet presence of good diffused,

And in diffusion ever more intense!

So shall I join the choir invisible,

Whose music is the gladness of the world.

George Eliot.

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