Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
V. A Privilege Worth a Hard Earning
By Henry Ellison (1811–1880)
IT is the hardest task, the highest end,
  Of all true wisdom, rightly understood,
  To see the Ill, yet not o’erlook the Good,
  Nor let the Ill beyond itself extend,
Nor o’er the sunny side its shadows send        5
  Beyond its own intrinsic magnitude,
  As mountains cast their shadows far, and brood
  At distance, and their own real bulk transcend.
’T is hard to school the heart to be, in spite
  Of injury and envy, generous still;        10
  In seeing Good alone to take delight,
And to forget, or to forgive, the Ill:
  And he who can do this, has still a right
  To think godlike of man, and must, and will.

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