Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
VI. Human Experience
Scorn Not the Least
Robert Southwell (c. 1561–1595)
 
WHEN words are weak and foes encountering strong,
Where mightier do assault than do defend,
The feebler part puts up enforced wrong,
And silent sees that speech could not amend.
Yet higher powers most think though they repine,—        5
When sun is set, the little stars will shine.
 
While pike doth range, the silly tench doth fly,
And crouch in privy creeks with smaller fish;
Yet pikes are caught when little fish go by;
These fleet afloat while those do fill the dish.        10
There is a time even for the worms to creep,
And suck the dew while all their foes do sleep.
 
The merlin cannot ever soar on high,
Nor greedy greyhound still pursue the chase;
The tender lark will find a time to fly,        15
And fearful hare to run a quiet race.
He that high-growth on cedars did bestow,
Gave also lowly mushrooms leave to grow.
 
In Haman’s pomp poor Mardocheus wept,
Yet God did turn his fate upon his foe;        20
The Lazar pined while Dives’ feast was kept,
Yet he to heaven, to hell did Dives go.
We trample grass, and prize the flowers of May,
Yet grass is green when flowers do fade away.
 
 
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