Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
On the Origin of Evil
By John Byrom (1692–1763)
EVIL, if rightly understood,
Is but the Skeleton of Good,
Divested of its Flesh and Blood.
While it remains without Divorce,
Within its hidden, secret Source        5
It is the Good’s own Strength and Force.
As Bone has the supporting Share,
In human Form divinely fair,
Altho’ an Evil when laid bare;
As Light and Air are fed by Fire,        10
A shining Good, while all conspire,
But (separate) dark, raging Ire;
As Hope and Love arise from Faith,
Which then admits no ill, nor hath;
But, if alone, it would be Wrath;        15
Or any Instance thought upon,
In which the Evil can be none,
Till Unity of Good is gone;
So, by Abuse of Thought and skill
The greatest Good, to wit, Free-will,        20
Becomes the Origin of Ill.
Thus, when rebellious Angels fell,
The very Heav’n where good ones dwell
Became th’ apostate Spirits’ Hell.
Seeking, against Eternal Right,        25
A Force with a Love and Light,
They found, and felt its Evil Might.
Thus Adam, biting at their Bait
Of Good and Evil when he ate,
Died to his first three-happy State;        30
Fell to the Evils of this ball,
Which, in harmonious Union all
Were Paradise before his Fall;
And, when the Life of Christ in men
Revives its faded Image, then        35
Will all be Paradise again.

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