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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

IX

Lady that in the prime of earliest youth,
Wisely hath shun'd the broad way and the green,
And with those few art eminently seen,
That labour up the Hill of heav'nly Truth,
The better part with Mary and with Ruth,
Chosen thou hast, and they that overween,
And at thy growing vertues fret their spleen,
No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth.
Thy care is fixt 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 feastfull friends
Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,
Hast gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure.

Note: 5 with Ruth] the Ruth 1645.

by John Milton.

Modern Love Xliv: They Say That Pity

They say, that Pity in Love's service dwells,
A porter at the rosy temple's gate.
I missed him going: but it is my fate
To come upon him now beside his wells;
Whereby I know that I Love's temple leave,
And that the purple doors have closed behind.
Poor soul! if in those early days unkind,
Thy power to sting had been but power to grieve,
We now might with an equal spirit meet,
And not be matched like innocence and vice.
She for the Temple's worship has paid price,
And takes the coin of Pity as a cheat.
She sees through simulation to the bone:
What's best in her impels her to the worst:
Never, she cries, shall Pity soothe Love's thirst,
Or foul hypocrisy for truth atone.

by George Meredith.

On A Picture Of Ruth

Fresh, through the mist of ages past,
Thou risest on our view,
As when from Judah's waving fields,
Thy footsteps brushed the dew.

Yet 'tis not for thy beauty's sake
We thus remember thee;
Although a chieftain's captive heart
Attests its potency; -

Not for the quiet interest
Thy simple story brings;
And not that from thy side there sprung
A line of prophet-kings.

But for that changeless, deathless love,
The true soul only knows,
That still, as darker lowers the night,
Serener, brighter glows.

That love that led thee forth to seek
The stranger's chill abode, -
Upon whose altar thou couldst lay
Thy home, thy land, thy God.

by Anne Charlotte Lynch Botta.

Think'st Thou To Seduce Me Then

Think'st thou to seduce me then with words that have no meaning?
Parrots so can learn to prate, our speech by pieces gleaning;
Nurses teach their children so about the time of weaning.

Learn to speak first, then to woo; to wooing much pertaineth:
He that courts us, wanting art, soon falters when he feigneth,
Looks asquint on his discourse, and smiles when he complaineth.

Skillful anglers hide their hooks, fit baits for every season;
But with crooked pins fish thou, as babes do that want reason:
Gudgeons only can be caught with such poor tricks of treason.

Ruth forgive me, if I erred from humane heart's compassion,
When I laughed sometimes too much to see thy foolish fashion:
But, alas, who less could do that found so good occasion?

by Thomas Campion.

The Lust Of The World

SINCE Man first lifted up his eyes to hers
And saw her vampire beauty, which is lust,
All else is dust
Within the compass of the universe.
With heart of Jael and with face of Ruth
She sits upon the tomb of Time and quaffs
Heart's blood and laughs
At all Life calls most noble and the truth.
The fire of conquest and the wine of dreams
Are in her veins; and in her eyes the lure
Of things unsure,
Urging the world forever to extremes.
Without her, Life would stagnate in a while.—
Her touch it is puts pleasure even in pain.—
So Life attain
Her end, she cares not if the means be vile.
She knows no pity, mercy, or remorse.—
Hers is to build and then exterminate:
To slay, create,
And twixt the two maintain an equal course.

by Madison Julius Cawein.

Ruth


She stood breast-high amid the corn,
Clasp’d by the golden light of morn,
Like the sweetheart of the sun,
Who many a glowing kiss had won.


On her cheek an autumn flush,
Deeply ripen’d;—such a blush
In the midst of brown was born,
Like red poppies grown with corn.


Round her eyes her tresses fell,
Which were blackest none could tell,
But long lashes veil’d a light,
That had else been all too bright.


And her hat, with shady brim,
Made her tressy forehead dim;
Thus she stood amid the stooks,
Praising God with sweetest looks:—


Sure, I said, Heav’n did not mean,
Where I reap thou shouldst but glean,
Lay thy sheaf adown and come,
Share my harvest and my home.

by Thomas Hood.

I Cried At Pity—not At Pain

588

I cried at Pity—not at Pain—
I heard a Woman say
"Poor Child"—and something in her voice
Convicted me—of me—

So long I fainted, to myself
It seemed the common way,
And Health, and Laughter, Curious things—
To look at, like a Toy—

To sometimes hear "Rich people" buy
And see the Parcel rolled—
And carried, I supposed—to Heaven,
For children, made of Gold—

But not to touch, or wish for,
Or think of, with a sigh—
And so and so—had been to me,
Had God willed differently.

I wish I knew that Woman's name—
So when she comes this way,
To hold my life, and hold my ears
For fear I hear her say

She's "sorry I am dead"—again—
Just when the Grave and I—
Have sobbed ourselves almost to sleep,
Our only Lullaby—

by Emily Dickinson.

Christ's compassion to the weak and tempted.

Heb. 4:15,16; 5:7; Matt. 12:20.

With joy we meditate the grace
Of our High Priest above;
His heart is made of tenderness,
His bowels melt with love.

Touched with a sympathy within,
He knows our feeble frame;
He knows what sore temptations mean,
For he has felt the same.

But spotless, innocent, and pure,
The great Redeemer stood,
While Satan's fiery darts he bore,
And did resist to blood.

He in the days of feeble flesh
Poured out his cries and tears,
And in his measure feels afresh
What every member bears.

[He'll never quench the smoking flax,
But raise it to a flame;
The bruised reed he never breaks,
Nor scorns the meanest name.]

Then let our humble faith address
His mercy and his power;
We shall obtain deliv'ring grace
In the distressing hour.

by Isaac Watts.

The Good Samaritan

How kind the good Samaritan
To him who fell among the thieves!
Thus Jesus pities fallen man,
And heals the wounds the soul receives.

O! I remember well the day,
When sorely wounded, nearly slain;
Like that poor man I bleeding lay,
And groaned for help, but groaned in vain.

Men saw me in this helpless case,
And passed without compassion by;
Each neighbor turned away his face,
Unmoved by my mournful cry.

But he whose name had been my scorn,
As Jews Samaritans despise
Came, when he saw me thus forlorn,
With love and pity in his eyes.

Gently he raised me from the ground,
Pressed me to lean upon his arm;
And into every gaping wound
He poured his own all-healing balm.

Unto his church my steps he led,
The house prepared for sinners lost;
Gave charge I should be clothed and fed;
And took upon him all the cost.

Thus saved from death, from want secured,
I wait till he again shall come,
When I shall be completely cured
And take me to his heav'nly home.

There through eternal boundless days,
When nature's wheel no longer rolls,
How shall I love, adore, and praise,
This good Samaritan to souls!

by John Newton.

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