Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
The World Morose
By Frederick William Faber (1814–1863)
 
I
I HEARD the wild beasts in the woods complain;
Some slept, while others waken’d to sustain
Thro’ night and day the sad monotonous round,
Half savage and half pitiful the sound.
 
The outcry rose to God thro’ all the air,        5
The worship of distress, an animal prayer,
Loud vehement pleadings not unlike to those
Job utter’d in his agony of woes.
 
The very pauses, when they came, were rife
With sick’ning sounds of too-successful strife;        10
As when the clash of battle dies away,
The groans of night succeed the shrieks of day.
 
Man’s scent the untamed creatures scarce can bear,
As if his tainted blood defiled the air;
In the vast woods they fret as in a cage,        15
Or fly in fear, or gnash their teeth with rage.
 
The beasts of burden linger on their way,
Like slaves who will not speak when they obey;
Their faces, when their looks to us they raise,
With something of reproachful patience gaze.        20
 
All creatures round us seem to disapprove;
Their eyes discomfort us with lack of love;
Our very rights, with signs like these alloy’d,
Not without sad misgivings are enjoy’d.
 
II
Mostly men’s many-featured faces wear
        25
Looks of fix’d gloom, or else of restless care;
The very babes, that in their cradles lie,
Out of the depths of unknown troubles cry.
 
Labour itself is but a sorrowful song,
The protest of the weak against the strong;        30
Over rough waters, and in obstinate fields,
And from dank mines, the same sad sound it yields.
 
Doth Earth send nothing up to Thee but moans,
Father? Canst thou find melody in groans?
O, can it be that Thou, the God of bliss,        35
Canst feed Thy glory on a world like this?
 
Yet it is well with us. From these alarms
Like children scared we fly into Thine arms;
And pressing sorrows put our pride to rout
With a swift faith which has not time to doubt.        40
 
We cannot herd in peace with wild beasts rude;
We dare not live in Nature’s solitude;
In how few eyes of men can we behold
Enough of love to make us calm and bold?
 
O, it is well with us! With angry glance        45
Life glares at us, or looks at us askance:
Seek where we will—Father, we see it now!—
None love us, trust us, welcome us, but Thou.
 
 
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