Three Palinodias - 02 Conflict Of Wit And Beauty

Sir Wit, who is so much esteem'd,

And who is worthy of all honour,
Saw Beauty his superior deem'd

By folks who loved to gaze upon her;
At this he was most sorely vex'd.

Then came Sir Breath (long known as fit

To represent the cause of wit),

Beginning, rudely, I admit,
To treat the lady with a text.
To this she hearken'd not at all,
But hasten'd to his principal:
"None are so wise, they say, as you,--
Is not the world enough for two?

If you are obstinate, good-bye!


Thoughts On The Works Of Providence

A R I S E, my soul, on wings enraptur'd, rise
To praise the monarch of the earth and skies,
Whose goodness and benificence appear
As round its centre moves the rolling year,
Or when the morning glows with rosy charms,
Or the sun slumbers in the ocean's arms:
Of light divine be a rich portion lent
To guide my soul, and favour my intend.
Celestial muse, my arduous flight sustain
And raise my mind to a seraphic strain!
Ador'd for ever be the God unseen,
Which round the sun revolves this vast machine,


Though short thy span, God's unimpeach'd decrees

Though short thy span, God's unimpeach'd decrees,
Which made that shorten'd span one long disease,
Yet merciful in chastening, gave thee scope
For mild, redeeming virtues, Faith and Hope;
Meek Resigination; pious Charity
And, since this world was not the world for thee,
Far from thy path removed, with partial care,
Strife, Glory, Gain, and Pleasure's flowery snare,
Bade Earth's temptations pass thee harmless by,
And fix'd on Heaven thine unadverted eye!
Oh! mark'd from birth, and nurtur'd for the skies!


The Winding Stair

My Soul. I summon to the winding ancient stair;
Set all your mind upon the steep ascent,
Upon the broken, crumbling battlement,
Upon the breathless starlit air,
'Upon the star that marks the hidden pole;
Fix every wandering thought upon
That quarter where all thought is done:
Who can distinguish darkness from the soul

My Self. The consecretes blade upon my knees
Is Sato's ancient blade, still as it was,
Still razor-keen, still like a looking-glass
Unspotted by the centuries;


The World

Wee falsely think it due unto our friends,
That we should grieve for their too early ends:
He that surveys the world with serious eys,
And stripps Her from her grosse and weak disguise,
Shall find 'tis injury to mourn their fate;
He only dy's untimely who dy's Late.
For if 'twere told to children in the womb,
To what a stage of mischief they must come
Could they foresee with how much toile and sweat
Men court that Guilded nothing, being Great;
What paines they take not to be what they seem,


The Words Of Belief

Three words will I name thee--around and about,
From the lip to the lip, full of meaning, they flee;
But they had not their birth in the being without,
And the heart, not the lip, must their oracle be!
And all worth in the man shall forever be o'er
When in those three words he believes no more.

Man is made free!--Man by birthright is free,
Though the tyrant may deem him but born for his tool.
Whatever the shout of the rabble may be--
Whatever the ranting misuse of the fool--


The White Peacock

(France -- Ancient Regime.)

I.

Go away!
Go away; I will not confess to you!
His black biretta clings like a hangman's cap; under his twitching fingers the beads shiver and click,
As he mumbles in his corner, the shadow deepens upon him;
I will not confess! . . .

Is he there or is it intenser shadow?
Dark huddled coilings from the obscene depths,
Black, formless shadow,
Shadow.
Doors creak; from secret parts of the chateau come the scuffle and worry of rats.


The Weeper

HAIL, sister springs,
Parents of silver-footed rills!
   Ever bubbling things,
Thawing crystal, snowy hills!
   Still spending, never spent; I mean
   Thy fair eyes, sweet Magdalene.

   Heavens thy fair eyes be;
Heavens of ever-falling stars;
   'Tis seed-time still with thee,
And stars thou sow'st whose harvest dares
   Promise the earth to countershine
   Whatever makes Heaven's forehead fine.

   Every morn from hence
A brisk cherub something sips
   Whose soft influence


The Weakling

I AM a weakling. God, who made
The still, strong man, made also me.
The God who could the tiger plan,
In his lithe splendour unafraid—
A thing of flame and poetry—
That Puissance made of me—a Man!

The One who reared His vast design—
Star, atom, system, germ, and soul—
Could fashion forth this tremulous
And paltry little heart of mine!
The God who could conceive the Whole,
Himself blasphemed in building thus.


The Water's Chant

Seven years ago I went into
the High Sierras stunned by the desire
to die. For hours I stared into a clear
mountain stream that fell down
over speckled rocks, and then I
closed my eyes and prayed that when
I opened them I would be gone
and somewhere a purple and golden
thistle would overflow with light.
I had not prayed since I was a child
and at first I felt foolish saying
the name of God, and then it became
another word. All the while
I could hear the water's chant


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