Three Steps

THREE steps there are our human life must climb.
The first is Force.
The savage struggled to it from the slime
And still it is our last, ashamed recourse.
Above that jagged stretch of red-veined stone
Is marble Law,
Carven with long endeavor, monotone
Of patient hammers, not yet free from flaw.
Three steps there are our human life must climb.
The last is Love,
Wrought from such starry element sublime
As touches the White Rose and Mystic Dove.
Poor world, that stumbles up with many a trip,
A child that clings
To the great Hand, whose lifting guardianship
Quickens in wayward feet the dream of wings!

by Katharine Lee Bates

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