Verse > Anthologies > Andrew Macphail, ed. > The Book of Sorrow
Andrew Macphail, comp.  The Book of Sorrow.  1916.
XXXIV. Compensation
From ‘Pain’
By Thomas Edward Brown (1830–1897)
THE MAN that hath great griefs I pity not;
  ’Tis something to be great
  In any wise, and hint the larger state,
Though but in shadow of a shade, God wot!
Moreover, while we wait the possible,        5
  This man has touched the fact,
  And probed till he has felt the core, where, packed
In pulpy folds, resides the ironic ill….
For thus it is God stings us into life,
  Provoking actual souls        10
  From bodily systems, giving us the poles
That are His own, not merely balanced strife …
Thrice happy such an one! Far other he
  Who dallies on the edge
  Of the great vortex, clinging to a sedge        15
Of patent good, a timorous Manichee …
For there is threefold oneness with the One;
  And he is one, who keeps
  The homely laws of life; who, if he sleeps,
Or wakes, in his true flesh God’s will is done …        20
But tenfold one is he, who feels all pains
  Not partial, knowing them
  As ripples parted from the gold-beaked stem,
Wherewith God’s galley onward ever strains.
To him the sorrows are the tension-thrills        25
  Of that serene endeavour,
  Which yields to God for ever and for ever
The joy that is more ancient than the hills.

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