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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
From ‘The Tomb of Burns’
By William Watson (1858–1935)
 
NOT ours to gauge the more or less,
The will’s defect, the blood’s excess,
The earthy humors that oppress
        The radiant mind.
His greatness, not his littleness,        5
        Concerns mankind.
 
A dreamer of the common dreams,
A fisher in familiar streams,
He chased the transitory gleams
        That all pursue;        10
But on his lips the eternal themes
        Again were new.
 
With shattering ire or withering mirth
He smote each worthless claim to worth;
The barren fig-tree cumbering earth        15
        He would not spare;
Through ancient lies of proudest birth
        He drove his share.
 
To him the Powers that formed him brave,
Yet weak to breast the fatal wave,        20
A mighty gift of Hatred gave,—
        A gift above
All other gifts benefic, save
        The gift of Love.
 
He saw ’tis meet that Man possess        25
The will to curse as well as bless,
To pity—and be pitiless,
        To make, and mar;
The fierceness that from tenderness
        Is never far.        30
 
And so his fierce and tender strain
Lives, and his idlest words remain
To flout oblivion, that in vain
        Strives to destroy
One lightest record of his pain        35
        Or of his joy.
 
 
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