I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

by David Herbert Lawrence.

If I had spent my talent as you spend,
If you had sought this rare thing sought by me,
We had missed our mutual pity at life's end,
As we have missed only our sympathy.

by Thomas MacDonagh.

The Sea Took Pity

The sea took pity: it interposed with doom:
‘I have tall daughters dear that heed my hand:
Let Winter wed one, sow them in her womb,
And she shall child them on the New-world strand.’
. . . . . . . .

by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

The Pity Of Love

A PITY beyond all telling
Is hid in the heart of love:
The folk who are buying and selling,
The clouds on their journey above,
The cold wet winds ever blowing,
And the shadowy hazel grove
Where mouse-grey waters are flowing,
Threaten the head that I love.

by William Butler Yeats.

The Pity Of Angels

[LA PITIE SUPREME VIII., 1881.]


When an angel of kindness
Saw, doomed to the dark,
Men framed in his likeness,
He sought for a spark--
Stray gem of God's glory
That shines so serene--
And, falling like lark,
To brighten our story,
Pure Pity was seen.

by Victor Marie Hugo.

Dear Pity, How, Ah!

Dear pity, how, ah! how, wouldst thou become her!
That best becometh beauty's best attiring;
Shall my desert deserve no favour from her?
But still to waste myself in deep adminring,
Like him who calls to echo to relieve him,
Still tells and hears the tale, Oh! tale that grieves him.

by John Wilbye.

God's Warmth Is She

O glad sun, creeping through the casement wide,
A million blossoms have you kissed since morn,
But none so fair as this one at my side-
Touch soft the bit of love, the babe new born.

Towards all the world my love and pity flow,
With high resolves, with trust, with sympathy.
This happy heart of mine is all aglow-
This heart that was so cold-God's warmth is she.

by Jean Blewett.

Totthe Right Honourable The Lady Elizabeth Germain, Upon Seeing Her Do A Generous Action.

When Ruin threaten'd me of late,
With all its ghastly Train;
Some Pow'r, in Pity to my Fate,
Sent bountiful Germain,

Her Soul is mov'd with my Distress,
And kind Compassion shows;
That gen'rous Hand, long us'd to bless,
Quick mitigates my Woes.

Thrice happy Fair! indulgent Heav'n
To Thee was doubly kind:
To others only Hearts are giv'n;
Thy Fortune suits thy Mind.

by Mary Barber.

They never saw my lover's face,
They only know our love was brief,
Wearing awhile a windy grace
And passing like an autumn leaf.

They wonder why I do not weep,
They think it strange that I can sing,
They say, "Her love was scarcely deep
Since it has left so slight a sting."

They never saw my love, nor knew
That in my heart's most secret place
I pity them as angels do
Men who have never seen God's face.

by Sara Teasdale.

As Far From Pity, As Complaint

496

As far from pity, as complaint—
As cool to speech—as stone—
As numb to Revelation
As if my Trade were Bone—

As far from time—as History—
As near yourself—Today—
As Children, to the Rainbow's scarf—
Or Sunset's Yellow play

To eyelids in the Sepulchre—
How dumb the Dancer lies—
While Color's Revelations break—
And blaze—the Butterflies!

by Emily Dickinson.

DOES Pity give, though Fate denies,
And to my wounds her balm impart?
O speak--with those expressive eyes!
Let one low sigh escape thine heart.
The gazing crowd shall never guess
What anxious, watchful Love can see;
Nor know what those soft looks express,
Nor dream that sign is meant for me.

Ah! words are useless, words are vain,
Thy generous sympathy to prove;
And well that sign, those looks explain,
That Clara mourns my hapless love.

by Charlotte Smith.

When I go back to earth
And all my joyous body
Puts off the red and white
That once had been so proud,
If men should pass above
With false and feeble pity,
My dust will find a voice
To answer them aloud:

"Be still, I am content,
Take back your poor compassion,
Joy was a flame in me
Too steady to destroy;
Lithe as a bending reed
Loving the storm that sways her--
I found more joy in sorrow
Than you could find in joy."

by Sara Teasdale.

Whimper Of Sympathy

Hawk or shrike has done this deed
Of downy feathers: rueful sight!
Sweet sentimentalist, invite
Your bosom's Power to intercede.

So hard it seems that one must bleed
Because another needs will bite!
All round we find cold Nature slight
The feelings of the totter-knee'd.

O it were pleasant with you
To fly from this tussle of foes,
The shambles, the charnel, the wrinkle!
To dwell in yon dribble of dew
On the cheek of your sovereign rose,
And live the young life of a twinkle.

by George Meredith.

Honour to those who in their lives
are committed and guard their Thermopylae.
Never stirring from duty;
just and upright in all their deeds,
but with pity and compassion too;
generous whenever they are rich, and when
they are poor, again a little generous,
again helping as much as they are able;
always speaking the truth,
but without rancor for those who lie.

And they merit greater honor
when the foresee (and many do foresee)
that Ephialtes will finally appear,
and in the end the Medes will go through.

by Constantine P. Cavafy.

The Silent Lover Ii

WRONG not, sweet empress of my heart,
   The merit of true passion,
With thinking that he feels no smart,
   That sues for no compassion.

Silence in love bewrays more woe
   Than words, though ne'er so witty:
A beggar that is dumb, you know,
   May challenge double pity.

Then wrong not, dearest to my heart,
   My true, though secret passion;
He smarteth most that hides his smart,
   And sues for no compassion.

by Sir Walter Raleigh.

There should be no despair for you
While nightly stars are burning,
While evening pours its silent dew
And sunshine gilds the morning.
There should be no despair - though tears
May flow down like a river:
Are not the best beloved of years
Around your heart forever?

They weep - you weep - it must be so;
Winds sigh as you are sighing,
And Winter sheds his grief in snow
Where Autumn's leaves are lying:
Yet these revive, and from their fate
Your fate cannot be parted,
Then journey on, if not elate,
Still, never broken-hearted!

by Emily Jane Brontë.

My prison has its pleasures. Every day
At breakfast--time, spare meal of milk and bread,
Sparrows come trooping in familiar way
With head aside beseeching to be fed.
A spider too for me has spun her thread
Across the prison rules, and a brave mouse
Watches in sympathy the warders' tread,
These two my fellow--prisoners in the house.

But about dusk in the rooms opposite
I see lamps lighted, and upon the blind
A shadow passes all the evening through.
It is the gaoler's daughter fair and kind
And full of pity (so I image it)
Till the stars rise, and night begins anew.

by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.

Follow Your Saint

Follow your saint, follow with accents sweet;
Haste you, sad notes, fall at her flying feet.
There, wrapp'd in cloud of sorrow, pity move,
And tell the ravisher of my soul I perish for her love:
But if she scorns my never-ceasing pain,
Then burst with sighing in her sight and ne'er return again.

All that I sung still to her praise did tend,
Still she was first; still she my songs did end;
Yet she my love and music both doth fly,
The music that her echo is and beauty's sympathy.
Then let my notes pursue her scornful flight:
It shall suffice that they were breath'd and died for her delight.

by Thomas Campion.

Therefore I dare reveal my private woe,
The secret blots of my imperfect heart,
Nor strive to shrink or swell mine own desert,
Nor beautify nor hide. For this I know,
That even as I am, thou also art.
Thou past heroic forms unmoved shalt go,
To pause and bide with me, to whisper low:
"Not I alone am weak, not I apart
Must suffer, struggle, conquer day by day.
Here is my very cross by strangers borne,
Here is my bosom-sin wherefrom I pray
Hourly deliverance--this my rose, my thorn.
This woman my soul's need can understand,
Stretching o'er silent gulfs her sister hand."

by Emma Lazarus.

IN despite of the cold and the gloom,
To ornament summer's bleak tomb,
Blooms the snowdrop; and lo! at the sight,
Sad Flora is thrilled with delight,
And exults in the moments to come.

In despite of the sneers of the proud,
To garnish my hope's ebon shroud,
Glows thy tear-drop; and lo! I'm possessed
Of Flora's rich feelings, when blest
With the sight of the first of her brood.

But once having granted my fill
Of sympathy's heart-cheering rill,—
Beloved! refrain; it were base,
To sweep yon sweet rose from its vase
That the thistle might blossom at will.

by Joseph Skipsey.

Natalia’s Resurrection: Sonnet Viii

And so it was that, sitting ever thus
Dumb to all speech of those that knew her woe
And bare with her sole sorrow in the house,
And ever watching with sad eyes below
To see if any came with help for her
Whom none could help with pity or with pride
Or word of patience, ere her time was near,
She bore her yet unliving child and died.
There was great mourning for her in those days
Because of her high lineage and fair youth.
Men knowing her spoke nobly in her praise,
Or knowing not yet mourned for very ruth.
And all Rome wept for her, and far and wide
The fame was noised how of her love she died.

by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.

Sonnet 132: Thine Eyes I Love, And They, As Pitying Me

Thine eyes I love, and they, as pitying me,
Knowing thy heart torment me with disdain,
Have put on black, and loving mourners be,
Looking with pretty ruth upon my pain.
And truly not the morning sun of heaven
Better becomes the grey cheeks of the east,
Nor that full star that ushers in the even
Doth half that glory to the sober west
As those two mourning eyes become thy face.
O, let it then as well beseem thy heart
To mourn for me since mourning doth thee grace,
And suit thy pity like in every part.
Then will I swear beauty herself is black,
And all they foul that thy complexion lack.

by William Shakespeare.

FOLLOW your saint, follow with accents sweet!
Haste you, sad notes, fall at her flying feet!
There, wrapt in cloud of sorrow, pity move,
And tell the ravisher of my soul I perish for her love:
But if she scorns my never-ceasing pain,
Then burst with sighing in her sight, and ne'er return again!

All that I sung still to her praise did tend;
Still she was first, still she my songs did end;
Yet she my love and music both doth fly,
The music that her echo is and beauty's sympathy:
Then let my notes pursue her scornful flight!
It shall suffice that they were breathed and died for her delight.

by Thomas Campion.

THE TWINKLING mists of green and gold
Afloat in the abyss of air,
From out the window high and old
We watched together there.

The monstrous fabric of the town
Lay black below; the cries of pain
Came to our ears from up and down
The dimly-lighted lane.

Olive, your eyes were turned to me,
Seeking a soul to sympathise:
I wondered what that glow might be,
Olive, within your eyes.

Into your trembling words there passed
The sorrow that was sighed through you:
Pity, a breath from out the vast,
From unknown hollows blew.

by George William Russell.

I Know That Thou Wilt Read What Here Is Writ,

I know that thou wilt read what here is writ,
And yet not know that it is writ for thee;
To this cold page I have entrusted it,
Which tells thee all, and yet is true to me.
For oh! this paper is not like my cheek,
To blush, when o'er it thou shalt cast thine eye,
These words can't falter, like the words I speak,
With trembling accents, still when thou art nigh.
Devoid of pity, doth this leaf receive
The story of my sorrow and my love;
Yet while I trace the words, I half believe,
That latent sympathy will in it move,
All I would have thee learn, to teach to thee,
And hold the rest in safest secrecy.

by Frances Anne Kemble.

Sonnet 112: Your Love And Pity Doth Th' Impression Fill

Your love and pity doth th' impression fill
Which vulgar scandal stamped upon my brow;
For what care I who calls me well or ill,
So you o'ergreen my bad, my good allow?
You are my all the world, and I must strive
To know my shames and praises from your tongue;
None else to me, nor I to none alive,
That my steeled sense or changes, right or wrong.
In so profound abysm I throw all care
Of others' voices that my adder's sense
To critic and to flatterer stoppèd are.
Mark how with my neglect I do dispense.
You are so strongly in my purpose bred,
That all the world besides, methinks, are dead.

by William Shakespeare.

Sonnet To Mrs. Bates

Oh, thou whose melody the heart obeys,
Thou who can'st all its subject passions move,
Whose notes to heav'n the list'ning soul can raise,
Can thrill with pity, or can melt with love!
Happy! whom nature lent this native charm;
Whose melting tones can shed with magic power,
A sweeter pleasure o'er the social hour,
The breast to softness sooth, to virtue warm-But
yet more happy! that thy life as clear
From discord, as thy perfect cadence flows;
That tun'd to sympathy, thy faithful tear,
In mild accordance falls for others woes;
That all the tender, pure affections bind
In chains of harmony, thy willing mind!

by Helen Maria Williams.

Long-Felt Desires

Long-felt desires, hopes as long as vain--
sad sighs--slow tears accustomed to run sad
into as many rivers as two eyes could add,
pouring like fountains, endless as the rain--
cruelty beyond humanity, a pain
so hard it makes compassionate stars go mad
with pity: these are the first passions I've had.
Do you think love could root in my soul again?
If it arched the great bow back again at me,
licked me again with fire, and stabbed me deep
with the violent worst, as awful as before,
the wounds that cut me everwhere would keep
me shielded, so there would be no place free
for love. It covers me. It can pierce no more.

by Louise Labe.

I walked in loamy Wessex lanes, afar
From rail-track and from highway, and I heard
In field and farmstead many an ancient word
Of local lineage like 'Thu bist,' 'Er war,'
'Ich woll,' 'Er sholl,' and by-talk similar,
Nigh as they speak who in this month's moon gird
At England's very loins, thereunto spurred
By gangs whose glory threats and slaughters are.

Then seemed a Heart crying: 'Whosoever they be
At root and bottom of this, who flung this flame
Between kin folk kin tongued even as are we,
Sinister, ugly, lurid, be their fame;
May their familiars grow to shun their name,
And their brood perish everlastingly.'

by Thomas Hardy.

To A Virtuous Young Lady

Lady! that in the prime of earliest youth
Wisely hast shunned the broad way and the green,
And with those few art eminently seen,
That labour up the Hill of Heavenly Truth,
The better part with Mary and with Ruth
Chosen thou hast, and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,
No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth.
Thy care is fixed, and zealously attends
To fill thy odorous Lamp with deeds of light.
And Hope that reaps not shame; therefore be sure,
Thou, when the Bridegroom with his feastful friends
Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,
Hast gained thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure.

by John Milton.

Perched on the branch of a tree
Was a nightingale sad and lonely

'The night has drawn near', He was thinking
'I passed the day in flying around and feeding

How can I reach up to the nest
Darkness has enveloped everything'?

Hearing the nightingale wailing thus
A glow-worm lurking nearby spoke thus

'With my heart and soul ready to help I am
Though only an insignificant insect I am

Never mind if the night is dark
I shall shed light if the way is dark

God has bestowed a torch on me
He has given a shining lamp to me

The good in the world only those are
Ready to be useful to others who are

by Allama Muhammad Iqbal.

My Own Heart Let Me More Have Pity On

My own heart let me more have pity on; let
Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
Charitable; not live this tormented mind
With this tormented mind tormenting yet.
I cast for comfort I can no more get
By groping round my comfortless, than blind
Eyes in their dark can day or thirst can find
Thirst 's all-in-all in all a world of wet.

Soul, self; come, poor Jackself, I do advise
You, jaded, let be; call off thoughts awhile
Elsewhere; leave comfort root-room; let joy size
At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile
's not wrung, see you; unforeseen times rather - as skies
Betweenpie mountains - lights a lovely mile.

by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

My Own Heart Let Me Have More Have Pity On; Let

My own heart let me have more have pity on; let
Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
Charitable; not live this tormented mind
With this tormented mind tormenting yet.
I cast for comfort I can no more get
By groping round my comfortless, than blind
Eyes in their dark can day or thirst can find
Thirst 's all-in-all in all a world of wet.

Soul, self; come, poor Jackself, I do advise
You, jaded, let be; call off thoughts awhile
Elsewhere; leave comfort root-room; let joy size
At God knows when to God knows what; whose smile
's not wrung, see you; unforeseen times rather—as skies
Betweenpie mountains—lights a lovely mile.

by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

I walked in loamy Wessex lanes, afar
From rail-track and from highway, and I heard
In field and farmstead many an ancient word
Of local lineage like 'Thu bist,' 'Er war,'

'Ich woll,' 'Er sholl,' and by-talk similar,
Nigh as they speak who in this month's moon gird
At England's very loins, thereunto spurred
By gangs whose glory threats and slaughters are.

Then seemed a Heart crying: 'Whosoever they be
At root and bottom of this, who flung this flame
Between folk kin tongued even as are we,

'Sinister, ugly, lurid, be their fame;
May their familiars grow to shun their name,
And their brood perish everlastingly.'

by Robert Laurence Binyon.

1

Ever musing I delight to tread
The Paths of honour and the Myrtle Grove
Whilst the pale Moon her beams doth shed
On disappointed Love.
While Philomel on airy hawthorn Bush
Sings sweet and Melancholy, And the thrush
Converses with the Dove.

2

Gently brawling down the turnpike road,
Sweetly noisy falls the Silent Stream--
The Moon emerges from behind a Cloud
And darts upon the Myrtle Grove her beam.
Ah! then what Lovely Scenes appear,
The hut, the Cot, the Grot, and Chapel queer,
And eke the Abbey too a mouldering heap,
Cnceal'd by aged pines her head doth rear
And quite invisible doth take a peep.

by Jane Austen.

Thine eyes I love, and they, as pitying me,
Knowing thy heart torments me with disdain,
Have put on black and loving mourners be,
Looking with pretty ruth upon my pain.
And truly not the morning sun of heaven
Better becomes the grey cheeks of the east,
Nor that full star that ushers in the even
Doth half that glory to the sober west,
As those two mourning eyes become thy face:
O, let it then as well beseem thy heart
To mourn for me, since mourning doth thee grace,
And suit thy pity like in every part.
Then will I swear beauty herself is black
And all they foul that thy complexion lack.

by William Shakespeare.

Our Little Sister

Weep, little shrinking spirits of the woods,
Hang down your fair, green faces, all ye leaves,
And dews be heavy on the year's firstborn,–
Yea, weep as rain, all ye that breathe of spring,
To-day I passed her in the city streets!

Surely the kind brown earth must pity her,
Nursing its young so safely at the breast,
All the great winds that no man may defile
Compassionate her, and the bending trees
Happy in fruitfulness and blest with song!

But where her feet are set of all God made
No stone remains; and wearing childhood's face
Fixed in an awful lethargy and calm,
Defiled, defiling, yet accusing not,
Avenged upon her race, she passes on.

by Laura Elizabeth McCully.

Thomas Decker: Viii

OUT of the depths of darkling life where sin
Laughs piteously that sorrow should not know
Her own ill name, nor woe be counted woe;
Where hate and craft and lust make drearier din
Than sounds through dreams that grief holds revel in;
What charm of joy-bells ringing, streams that flow,
Winds that blow healing in each note they blow,
Is this that the outer darkness hears begin?

O sweetest heart of all thy time save one,
Star seen for love’s sake nearest to the sun,
Hung lamplike o’er a dense and doleful city,
Not Shakespeare’s very spirit, howe’er more great,
Than thine toward man was more compassionate,
Nor gave Christ praise from lips more sweet with pity.

by Algernon Charles Swinburne.

The Pity Of The Leaves

Vengeful across the cold November moors,
Loud with ancestral shame there came the bleak
Sad wind that shrieked, and answered with a shriek,
Reverberant through lonely corridors.
The old man heard it; and he heard, perforce,
Words out of lips that were no more to speak—
Words of the past that shook the old man’s cheek
Like dead, remembered footsteps on old floors.

And then there were the leaves that plagued him so!
The brown, thin leaves that on the stones outside
Skipped with a freezing whisper. Now and then
They stopped, and stayed there—just to let him know
How dead they were; but if the old man cried,
They fluttered off like withered souls of men.

by Edwin Arlington Robinson.

I walked in loamy Wessex lanes, afar
From rail-track and from highway, and I heard
In field and farmstead many an ancient word
Of local lineage like "Thu bist," "Er war,"
"Ich woll," "Er sholl," and by-talk similar,
Nigh as they speak who in this month's moon gird
At England's very loins, thereunto spurred
By gangs whose glory threats and slaughters are.

Then seemed a Heart crying: "Whosoever they be
At root and bottom of this, who flung this flame
Between kin folk kin tongued even as are we,
Sinister, ugly, lurid, be their fame;
May their familiars grow to shun their name,
And their brood perish everlastingly."

by Thomas Hardy.