Regret For Red Peonies
A melancholy walk among red peonies;
When evening comes, only two flowers remain.
They will not survive the morning wind;
I regret their passing by the campfire's light.
by Bai Juyi.
Greater than greatest! better than the best!
Kinder than kindest! with soft pity's eye
Look down -
On a poor breathing particle of dust!
Or, lower, - an immortal in his crimes.
His crimes forgive, forgive his virtues too!
Those smaller faults, half converts to the right.
by Edward Young.
Des roses de Lormont la rose la plus belle,
Georgina, près des flots nous souriait un soir :
L'orage, dans la nuit, la toucha de son aile,
Et l'Aurore passa triste, sans la revoir !
Pure comme une fleur, de sa fragile vie
Elle n'a respiré que les plus beaux printemps.
On la pleure, on lui porte envie :
Elle aurait vu l'hiver ; c'est vivre trop de temps !
Conscience And Remorse
'GOOD-BYE,' I said to my conscience —
'Good-bye for aye and aye,'
And I put her hands off harshly,
And turned my face away;
And conscience smitten sorely
Returned not from that day.
But a time came when my spirit
Grew weary of its pace;
And I cried: 'Come back, my conscience;
I long to see thy face.'
But conscience cried: 'I cannot;
Remorse sits in my place.'
Regret For Peony Flowers
Melancholy steps before red peonies
Evening come only be two branches remain
Bright morning wind start cope blow exhaust
Night regret decline red hold fire look
I'm saddened by the peonies before the steps, so red,
As evening came I found that only two remained.
Once morning's winds have blown, they surely won't survive,
At night I gaze by lamplight, to cherish the fading red.
by Bai Juyi.
Remorse - Is Memory - Awake -
Remorse - is Memory - awake -
Her Parties all astir -
A Presence of Departed Acts -
At window - and at Door -
Its Past - set down before the Soul
And lighted with a Match -
Perusal - to facilitate -
And help Belief to stretch -
Remorse is cureless - the Disease
Not even God - can heal -
For 'tis His institution - and
The Adequate of Hell -
by Emily Dickinson.
Remorse For Intemperate Speech
I RANTED to the knave and fool,
But outgrew that school,
Would transform the part,
Fit audience found, but cannot rule
My fanatic heart.
I sought my betters: though in each
Fine manners, liberal speech,
Turn hatred into sport,
Nothing said or done can reach
My fanatic heart,
Out of Ireland have we come.
Great hatred, little room,
Maimed us at the start.
I carry from my mother's womb
A fanatic heart.
The Main Regret
[Written for the Charing Cross Album]
Seen, too clear and historic within us, our sins of omission
Frown when the Autumn days strike us all ruthlessly bare.
They of our mortal diseases find never healing physician;
Errors they of the soul, past the one hope to repair.
Sunshine might we have been unto seed under soil, or have scattered
Seed to ascendant suns brighter than any that shone.
Even the limp-legged beggar a sick desperado has flattered
Back to a half-sloughed life cheered by the mere human tone.
by George Meredith.
Time Long Past
Like the ghost of a dear friend dead
Is Time long past.
A tone which is now forever fled,
A hope which is now forever past,
A love so sweet it could not last,
Was Time long past.
There were sweet dreams in the night
Of Time long past:
And, was it sadness or delight,
Each day a shadow onward cast
Which made us wish it yet might last--
That Time long past.
There is regret, almost remorse,
For Time long past.
'Tis like a child's belovèd corse
A father watches, till at last
Beauty is like remembrance, cast
From Time long past.
Sad is the thought of sunniest days
Of love and rapture perished,
And shine through memory's tearful haze
The eyes once fondliest cherished.
Reproachful is the ghost of toys
That charmed while life was wasted.
But saddest is the thought of joys
That never yet were tasted.
Sad is the vague and tender dream
Of dead love's lingering kisses,
To crushed hearts haloed by the gleam
Of unreturning blisses;
Deep mourns the soul in anguished pride
For the pitiless death that won them,
But the saddest wail is for lips that died
With the virgin dew upon them.
by John Hay.
The New Remorse
The sin was mine; I did not understand.
So now is music prisoned in her cave,
Save where some ebbing desultory wave
Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
And in the withered hollow of this land
Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave,
That hardly can the leaden willow crave
One silver blossom from keen Winter's hand.
But who is this who cometh by the shore?
(Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this
Who cometh in dyed garments from the South?
It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss
The yet unravished roses of thy mouth,
And I shall weep and worship, as before.
by Oscar Wilde.
MAGIC for fitful souls whose aim is still
Pleasures that forfeit not the mansions blest,
Who deem themselves absolved to approve the best .
While they, protesting hate, pursue the ill;
Who lack strength to attain or else lack will
To keep what was their will's supreme behest;
Daring in dreams but fearful of the test
When Time and Fate their dearest wish fulfil.
I will not taste of thy pale anodyne;
I will not alter, listening to a voice
That tells me joys immortal may be mine
Were I but traitor to my clearest choice.
Courage I count above all gifts of thine
Courage or to refrain or to rejoice.
O sweet Queen-city of the golden South,
Piercing the evening with thy star-lit spires,
Thou wert a witness when I kissed the mouth
Of her whose eyes outblazed the skyey fires.
I saw the parallels of thy long streets,
With lamps like angels shining all a-row,
While overhead the empyrean seats
Of gods were steeped in paradisic glow.
The Pleiades with rarer fires were tipt,
Hesper sat throned upon his jewelled chair,
The belted giant's triple stars were dipt
In all the splendour of Olympian air,
On high to bless, the Southern Cross did shine,
Like that which blazed o'er conquering Constantine.
by Patrick Moloney.
The House Of Regret
It is not that I now were happier
If with the dawn my tireless feet were led
Along her path, till I saw her fair head
Thrown back to make the sunshine goldener:
For it is well, sometimes, the things that were
Are over, ere their perfectness hath fled;
Lest the old love of them should fade instead,
And lie like ruins round the throne of her.
Now with the wisdom of increasing years
I know each ancient joy a cup for tears;
Yet had I drunk, while they were draughts to praise,
Deeper, I were not now as men that grow
Old, and sit gazing out across the snow
To dream sad dreams of wasted summer days
Have patience, O my sorrow, and be still.
You asked for night: it falls: it is here.
A shadowy atmosphere enshrouds the hill,
to some men bringing peace, to others care.
While the vile human multitude
goes to earn remorse, in servile pleasure’s play,
under the lash of joy, the torturer, who
is pitiless, Sadness, come, far away:
Give me your hand. See, where the lost years
lean from the balcony in their outdated gear,
where regret, smiling, surges from the watery deeps.
Underneath some archway, the dying light
sleeps, and, like a long shroud trailing from the East,
listen, dear one, listen to the soft onset of night.
Il n’est chansons qu’au temps d’avril
Quand, sur les lilas en péril,
Le vent frileux palpite et pleure.
Il n’est chansons qu’au matin clair
Où, dans la caresse de l’air,
Tinte la jeunesse de l’heure !
Il n’est amour qu’au temps de mai
Quand la rose au coeur parfumé
S’ouvre aux souffles tièdes des grèves.
Il n’est amour qu’au soir vermeil
Où l’aile rose du soleil
Se referme au loin sur nos rêves.
Au temps d’hiver et des glaçons
Il n’est plus amour ni chansons !
Plus de lilas ! et plus de roses !
Les matins sont silencieux
Et les soirs descendent des cieux
Mélancoliques et moroses !
There is a haunting phantom called Regret,
A shadowy creature robed somewhat like woe,
But fairer in the face, whom all men know
By her said mien, and eyes forever wet.
No heart would seek her; but once having met
All take her by the hand, and to and fro
They wander through those paths of long ago-
Those hallowed ways 'twere wiser to forget.
One day she led me to that lost land's gate
And bade me enter; but I answered 'No!
I will pass on with my bold comrade Fate;
I have no tears to waste on thee- no time-
My strength I hoard for heights I hope to climb,
No friend art thou, for souls that would be great.'
Le Regret Des Joujoux
Toujours je garde en moi la tristesse profonde
Qu'y grava l'amitié d'un adorable enfant
Pour qui la mort sonna le fatal olifant,
Parce qu'elle était belle et gracieuse et blonde.
Or, depuis je me sens muré contre le monde,
Tel un prince du Nord que son Kremlin défend,
Et, navré du regret dont je suis étouffant,
L'Amour comme à sept ans ne verse plus son onde.
Où donc a fui le jour des joujoux enfantins,
Lorsque Lucile et moi jouions aux pantins
Et courions tous les deux dans nos robes fripées ?
La petite est montée au fond des cieux latents,
Et j'ai perdu l'orgueil d'habiller ses poupées…
Ah ! de franchir sitôt le portail de vingt ans !
by Émile Nelligan.
Sonnet, To Genevra
Thine eyes' blue tenderness, thy long fair hair,
And the wan lustre of thy features caught
From contemplation-where serenely wrought,
Seems Sorrow's softness charm'd from its despair--
Have thrown such speaking sadness in thine air
That--but I know thy blessed bosom fraught
With mines of unalloy'd and stainless thought--
I should have deem'd thee doom'd to earthly care.
With such an aspect, by his colours blent,
When from his beauty-breathing pencil born
(Except that thou hast nothing to repent),
The Magdalen of Guido saw the morn--
Such seem'st thou--but how much more excellent!
With nought Remorse can claim--nor Virtue scorn.
December 17, 1813.
There's a regret that from my bosom aye
Wrings forth a dirgy sweetness, like a rain
Of deathward love; that ever in my brain
Uttereth such tones as in some foregone way
Seem gathered from the harmonies that start
Into the dayspring, when some rarest view
Unveileth its Tempèan grace anew
To meet the sun—the great world’s fervent heart.
’Tis that, though living in his tuneful day,
My boyhood might not see the gentle smile,
Nor hear the voice of Shelley; that away
His soul had journeyed, ere I might beguile
In my warm youth, by some fraternal lay,
One thought of his towards this may native isle.
by Charles Harpur.
In Memoriam A. H. H.: Is It, Then, Regret For Buried Time
Is it, then, regret for buried time
That keenlier in sweet April wakes,
And meets the year, and gives and takes
The colours of the crescent prime?
Not all: the songs, the stirring air,
The life re-orient out of dust,
Cry thro' the sense to hearten trust
In that which made the world so fair.
Not all regret: the face will shine
Upon me, while I muse alone;
And that dear voice, I once have known,
Still speak to me of me and mine:
Yet less of sorrow lives in me
For days of happy commune dead;
Less yearning for the friendship fled,
Than some strong bond which is to be.
Build on resolve, and not upon regret,
The structure of thy future. Do not grope
Among the shadows of old sins, but let
Thine own soul’s light shine on the path of hope
And dissipate the darkness. Waste no tears
Upon the blotted record of lost years,
But turn the leaf, and smile, oh! smile, to see
The fair white pages that remain for thee.
Prate not of thy repentance. But believe
The spark divine dwells in thee: let it grow.
That which the unpreaching spirit can achieve,
The grand and all creative forces know;
They will assist and strengthen as the light
Lifts up the acorn to the oak-tree’s height.
Thou hast but to resolve, and lo! God’s whole
Great universe shall fortify thy soul.
(The speaker addresses himself)
Lighten up, you bitch, stop being so bitter.
You lobbied for night. It falls. Right here.
The air, a haziness, wimples the town.
Peace for some, for the others the jitters.
With cranked-up hope, the plodding herd, most of us,
sapped silly by desire, that ruthlessness,
we bend in the traces and ask mortgage on remorse.
Dear, dear, glum thing, let's hold hands. Come 'ere.
Let's get away. Look up. There the gone years slouch
in second-hand robes on the balcony of the sky—
over the abyss Regret breaks water, smirking.
The dead sun's gonna pass out under the bridge.
And like a mummy's long bandage, off to the west,
listen, sweets, listen, the double-soft dark is coming on.
Dark and high as summer tempest mighty-armed Prahasta rose,
Spake in fierce and fierce accents hurling challenge on his foes:
'Wherefore, Ravan, quails thy bosom, gods against thee strive in vain,
Wherefore fear the feeble mortals, homeless hermits, helpless men?
Hanuman approached in secret, stealing like a craven spy,
Not from one in open combat would alive the Vanar fly,
Let him come with all his forces, to the confines of the sea
I will chase the scattered army and thy town from foemen free!
Not in fear and hesitation Ravan should repent his deed,
While his gallant Raksha forces stand beside him in his need,
Not in tears and vain repentance Sita to his consort yield,
While his chieftains guard his empire in the battle's gory field!'
When I am tired, and old and worn,
And harass'd by regret;
When blame, reproach, and worldlings' scorn
On every side are met;
When I have lived long years in vain
And found Life's garlands rue,
Maybe I'll come back again -
At last - at last - to you!
When all the joys and all the zest
Of youthful years have fled,
Maybe that I shall leave the rest
And turn to you instead;
For you, Dear Heart, would never spurn
(With condemnation due!)
If, at the close of all, I turn
Homeward - at last - to you!
When other faces turn away,
And lighter loves have passed;
When life is weary, cold, and gray -
I may come back - at last!
When cares, remorse, regrets are rife -
Too late to live anew -
In the sad twilight of my life
I will come back - to you!
When tears wash tears and soul upon soul leaps,
When clasped in arms of anguish and of pain.
When love beneath the feet of passion creeps,
Ah me, what do we gain?
When we our rosy bower to demons lease,
When Life's most tender strains by shrieks are
When strife invades our quietude and peace,
Ah me, what do we gain?
When we allow the herbs of hate to sprout,
When weeds of jealousy the lily stain.
When pearls of faith are crushed by stones of
Ah me, what do we gain?
When night creeps on us in the light of day.
When we nepenthes of good cheer disdain,
When on the throne of courage sits dismay,
Ah mc, what do we gain?
When sweetness, goodness, kindness all have
When naught but broken, bleeding hearts re-
When rough-shod o'er our better self we ride.
Ah me, what do we gain ?
by Ameen Rihani.
The Death Of Regret
I opened my shutter at sunrise,
And looked at the hill hard by,
And I heartily grieved for the comrade
Who wandered up there to die.
I let in the morn on the morrow,
And failed not to think of him then,
As he trod up that rise in the twilight,
And never came down again.
I undid the shutter a week thence,
But not until after I'd turned
Did I call back his last departure
By the upland there discerned.
Uncovering the casement long later,
I bent to my toil till the gray,
When I said to myself, 'Ah - what ails me,
To forget him all the day!'
As daily I flung back the shutter
In the same blank bald routine,
He scarcely once rose to remembrance
Through a month of my facing the scene.
And ah, seldom now do I ponder
At the window as heretofore
On the long valued one who died yonder,
And wastes by the sycamore.
by Thomas Hardy.
Remorse: A Fragment
OF all the numerous ills that hurt our peace,
That press the soul, or wring the mind with anguish
Beyond comparison the worst are those
By our own folly, or our guilt brought on:
In ev'ry other circumstance, the mind
Has this to say, "It was no deed of mine:"
But, when to all the evil of misfortune
This sting is added, "Blame thy foolish self!"
Or worser far, the pangs of keen remorse,
The torturing, gnawing consciousness of guilt—
Of guilt, perhaps, when we've involvèd others,
The young, the innocent, who fondly lov'd us;
Nay more, that very love their cause of ruin!
O burning hell! in all thy store of torments
There's not a keener lash!
Lives there a man so firm, who, while his heart
Feels all the bitter horrors of his crime,
Can reason down its agonizing throbs;
And, after proper purpose of amendment,
Can firmly force his jarring thoughts to peace?
O happy, happy, enviable man!
O glorious magnanimity of soul!
by Robert Burns.
Remorse. (From August Von Platen)
How I started up in the night, in the night,
Drawn on without rest or reprieval!
The streets, with their watchmen, were lost to my sight,
As I wandered so light
In the night, in the night,
Through the gate with the arch mediaeval.
The mill-brook rushed from the rocky height,
I leaned o'er the bridge in my yearning;
Deep under me watched I the waves in their flight,
As they glided so light
In the night, in the night,
Yet backward not one was returning.
O'erhead were revolving, so countless and bright,
The stars in melodious existence;
And with them the moon, more serenely bedight;--
They sparkled so light
In the night, in the night,
Through the magical, measureless distance.
And upward I gazed in the night, in the night,
And again on the waves in their fleeting;
Ah woe! thou hast wasted thy days in delight,
Now silence thou light,
In the night, in the night,
The remorse in thy heart that is beating.
There's A Regret
There's a regret
So grinding, so immitigably sad,
Remorse thereby feels tolerant, even glad. ...
Do you not know it yet?
For deeds undone
Rnakle and snarl and hunger for their due,
Till there seems naught so despicable as you
In all the grin o' the sun.
Like an old shoe
The sea spurns and the land abhors, you lie
About the beach of Time, till by and by
Death, that derides you too --
Death, as he goes
His ragman's round, espies you, where you stray,
With half-an-eye, and kicks you out of his way
And then -- and then, who knows
But the kind Grave
Turns on you, and you feel the convict Worm,
In that black bridewell working out his term,
Hanker and grope and crave?
"Poor fool that might --
That might, yet would not, dared not, let this be,
Think of it, here and thus made over to me
In the implacable night!"
And writhing, fain
And like a triumphing lover, he shall take,
His fill where no high memory lives to make
His obscene victory vain.
The Men We Might Have Been
When God's wrath-cloud is o'er me,
Affrighting heart and mind;
When days seem dark before me,
And days seem black behind;
Those friends who think they know me --
Who deem their insight keen --
They ne'er forget to show me
The man I might have been.
He's rich and independent,
Or rising fast to fame;
His bright star is ascendant,
The country knows his name;
His houses and his gardens
Are splendid to be seen;
His fault the wise world pardons --
The man I might have been.
His fame and fortune haunt me;
His virtues wave me back;
His name and prestige daunt me
When I would take the track;
But you, my friend true-hearted --
God keep our friendship green! --
You know how I was parted
From all I might have been.
But what avails the ache of
Remorse or weak regret?
We'll battle for the sake of
The men we might be yet!
We'll strive to keep in sight of
The brave, the true, and clean,
And triumph yet in spite of
The men we might have been.
by Henry Lawson.
Long ago I wished to leave
" The house where I was born; "
Long ago I used to grieve,
My home seemed so forlorn.
In other years, its silent rooms
Were filled with haunting fears;
Now, their very memory comes
O'ercharged with tender tears.
Life and marriage I have known,
Things once deemed so bright;
Now, how utterly is flown
Every ray of light !
'Mid the unknown sea of life
I no blest isle have found;
At last, through all its wild wave's strife,
My bark is homeward bound.
Farewell, dark and rolling deep !
Farewell, foreign shore !
Open, in unclouded sweep,
Thou glorious realm before !
Yet, though I had safely pass'd
That weary, vexed main,
One loved voice, through surge and blast,
Could call me back again.
Though the soul's bright morning rose
O'er Paradise for me,
William ! even from Heaven's repose
I'd turn, invoked by thee !
Storm nor surge should e'er arrest
My soul, exulting then:
All my heaven was once thy breast,
Would it were mine again !
by Charlotte Brontë.
How David, when by sin deceived,
From bad to worse went on!
For when the Holy Spirit's grieved,
Our strength and guard are gone.
His eye on Bathsheba once fixed,
With poison filled his soul;
He ventured on adult'ry next,
And murder crowned the whole.
So from a spark of fire at first,
That has not been descried;
A dreadful flame has often burst,
And ravaged far and wide.
When sin deceives it hardens too,
For though he vainly fought
To hide his crimes from public view,
Of God he little thought.
He neither would, or could repent,
No true compunction felt;
'Till God in mercy Nathan sent,
His stubborn heart to melt.
The parable held forth a fact,
Designed his case to show;
But though the picture was exact,
Himself he did not know.
Thou art the man, the prophet said,
That word his slumber broke;
And when he owned his sin, and prayed,
The Lord forgiveness spoke.
Let those who think they stand beware,
For David stood before;
Nor let the fallen soul despair,
For mercy can restore.
by John Newton.
Ballade Of Roulette
This life--one was thinking to-day,
In the midst of a medley of fancies -
Is a game, and the board where we play
Green earth with her poppies and pansies.
Let manque be faded romances,
Be passe remorse and regret;
Hearts dance with the wheel as it dances -
The wheel of Dame Fortune's roulette.
The lover will stake as he may
His heart on his Peggies and Nancies;
The girl has her beauty to lay;
The saint has his prayers and his trances;
The poet bets endless expanses
In Dreamland; the scamp has his debt:
How they gaze at the wheel as it glances -
The wheel of Dame Fortune's roulette!
The Kaiser will stake his array
Of sabres, of Krupps, and of lances;
An Englishman punts with his pay,
And glory the jeton of France is;
Your artists, or Whistlers or Vances,
Have voices or colours to bet;
Will you moan that its motion askance is -
The wheel of Dame Fortune's roulette?
The prize that the pleasure enhances?
The prize is--at last to forget
The changes, the chops, and the chances -
The wheel of Dame Fortune's roulette.
by Andrew Lang.
Jesus To The Soul Savonarola
Air Soul, created in the primal hour,
Once pure and grand,
And for whose sake I left my throne and power
At God’s right hand
By this sad heart, pierced through because I love thee
Let love and mercy to contrition move thee.
Cast off the sins thy holy beauty veiling,
Vain against thee the host of hell assailing
My strength is thine.
Drink from my side the wine of life immortal,
And love will lead thee back to Heaven’s portal.
Quench in my light the flame of low desire,
Crush doubt and fear;
Even to my glory may each soul aspire,
If victor here.
Die now to earth, with earthly vanity,
And live for evermore in Heaven with me.
I, for thy sake, was pierced with many sorrows,
And bore the Cross;
Yet heeding not the galling of the arrows,
The shame or loss.
So, faint not thou, whate’er the burden be,
Bear with it bravely, even to Calvary.
Still shall my spirit urge if thou delayest,
My hand sustain;
My blood wash out thy errors if thou strayest
Plead I in vain?
An hour is coming when the judgment loometh;
Repent, fair soul, ere yet that hour cometh.
by Lady Jane Wilde.
Repentance And Reconciliation
Mamma is displeased and looks very grave,
And I own, brother, I was to blame
Just now when I told her I wanted to have,
Like Miss Lydia, a very fine name.
'Twas foolish, for, Robert, Jane sounds very well,
When mamma says, 'I love my good Jane.'
I've been lately so naughty, I hardly can tell
If she ever will say so again.
We are each of us foolish, and each of us young,
And often in fault and to blame.
Jane, yesterday I was too free with my tongue,
I acknowledge it now to my shame.
For a speech in my good mother's hearing I made,
Which reflected upon her whole sex;
And now like you, Jenny, I am much afraid
That this might my dear mother vex.
But yet, brother Robert, 'twas not quite so bad
As that naughty reflection of mine,
When I grumbled because Liddy Bellenger had
Dolls and dresses expensive and fine.
For then 'twas of her, her own self, I complained;
Since mamma does provide all I have.
Your repentance, my children, I see is unfeigned,
You are now my good Robert, and now my good Jane;
And if you will never be naughty again,
Your fond mother will never look grave.
by Charles Lamb.
Lord, I confess my sin is great;
Great is my sin. Oh! gently treat
With thy quick flow'r, thy momentany bloom;
Whose life still pressing
Is one undressing,
A steady aiming at a tomb.
Man's age is two hours' work, or three:
Each day doth round about us see.
Thus are we to delights: but we are all
To sorrows old,
If life be told
From what life feeleth, Adam's fall.
O let thy height of mercy then
Compassionate short-breathed men.
Cut me not off for my most foul transgression:
I do confess
My God, accept of my confession.
Sweeten at length this bitter bowl,
Which thou hast pour'd into my soul;
Thy wormwood turn to health, winds to fair weather:
For if thou stay,
I and this day,
As we did rise, we die together.
When thou for sin rebukest man,
Forthwith he waxeth woe and wan:
Bitterness fills our bowels; all our hearts
Pine, and decay,
And dropp away,
And carry with them th'other parts.
But thou wilt sin and grief destroy;
That so the broken bones may joy,
And tune together in a well-set song,
Full of his praises,
Who dead men raises;
Fractures well cur'd make us more strong.
by George Herbert.
Out of the gulf into the glory,
Father, my soul cries out to be lifted.
Dark is the woof of my dismal story,
Thorough thy sun-warp stormily drifted!-
Out of the gulf into the glory,
Lift me, and save my story.
I have done many things merely shameful;
I am a man ashamed, my father!
My life is ashamed and broken and blameful-
The broken and blameful, oh, cleanse and gather!
Heartily shame me, Lord, of the shameful!
To my judge I flee with my blameful.
Saviour, at peace in thy perfect purity,
Think what it is, not to be pure!
Strong in thy love's essential security,
Think upon those who are never secure.
Full fill my soul with the light of thy purity:
Fold me in love's security.
O Father, O Brother, my heart is sore aching!
Help it to ache as much as is needful;
Is it you cleansing me, mending, remaking,
Dear potter-hands, so tender and heedful?
Sick of my past, of my own self aching-
Hurt on, dear hands, with your making.
Proud of the form thou hadst given thy vessel,
Proud of myself, I forgot my donor;
Down in the dust I began to nestle,
Poured thee no wine, and drank deep of dishonour!
Lord, thou hast broken, thou mendest thy vessel!
In the dust of thy glory I nestle.
by George MacDonald.
The Belle's Soliloquy
Heigh Ho! Well, the season’s over!
Once again we’ve come to Lent!
Programme’s changes from balls and parties –
Now we’re ordered to repent.
Forty days of self-denial!
Tell you what, I think it pays –
Know’t’l freshen my complexion
Going slow for forty days.
No more savoury French suppers –
Such as Madame R- can give.
Well, I need a little thinning –
Just a trifle – sure’s you live!
Sometimes been afraid my plumpness
Might grow into downright fat.
Rector urges need of fasting –
Think there’s lot of truth in that.
We must meditate, he tells us,
On our several acts of sin,
And repent them. Let me see now –
Whereabouts shall I begin!
Flirting – yes, they say ‘tis wicked;
Well, I’m awful penitent.
(Wonder if my handsome major
Goes to early Mass though Lent?)
Love of dress! I’m guilty there too –
Guess it’s my besetting sin.
Still I’m somewhat like the lillies,
For I neither toil or spin.
Forty days I’ll wear my plainest –
Could repentance be more true?
What a saving on my dresses!
They’ll make over just like new.
Pride, and worldliness and all that,
Rector bade us pray about
Every day through Lenten season,
And I mean to be devout!
Papa always talks entrenchment –
Lent is just the very thing.
Hope he’ll get enough in pocket
So we’ll move up town next spring.
Yes, Happiness hath left me soon behind!
Alas! we all pursue its steps! and when
We've sunk to rest within its arms entwined,
Like the Phoenician virgin, wake, and find
Ourselves alone again.
Then, through the distant future's boundless space,
We seek the lost companion of our days:
'Return, return!' we cry, and lo, apace
Pleasure appears! but not to fill the place
Of that we mourn always.
I, should unhallowed Pleasure woo me now,
Will to the wanton sorc'ress say, 'Begone!
Respect the cypress on my mournful brow,
Lost Happiness hath left regret--but _thou_
Leavest remorse, alone.'
Yet, haply lest I check the mounting fire,
O friends, that in your revelry appears!
With you I'll breathe the air which ye respire,
And, smiling, hide my melancholy lyre
When it is wet with tears.
Each in his secret heart perchance doth own
Some fond regret 'neath passing smiles concealed;--
Sufferers alike together and alone
Are we; with many a grief to others known,
How many unrevealed!
Alas! for natural tears and simple pains,
For tender recollections, cherished long,
For guileless griefs, which no compunction stains,
We blush; as if we wore these earthly chains
Only for sport and song!
Yes, my blest hours have fled without a trace:
In vain I strove their parting to delay;
Brightly they beamed, then left a cheerless space,
Like an o'erclouded smile, that in the face
Lightens, and fades away.