Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
I Am So Sad, O God!
By Juliusz Słowacki (1809–1849)
From ‘Poets and Poetry of Poland,’ edited by Paul Soboleski

I AM so sad, O God! Thou hast before me
  Spread a bright rainbow in the western skies,
But thou hast quenched in darkness cold and stormy
        The brighter stars that rise;
Clear grows the heaven ’neath thy transforming rod:        5
        Still I am sad, O God!
Like empty ears of grain, with heads erected,
  Have I delighted stood amid the crowd,
My face the while to stranger eyes reflected
        The calm of summer’s cloud;        10
But thou dost know the ways that I have trod,
        And why I grieve, O God!
I am like to a weary infant fretting
  Whene’er its mother leaves it for a while:
And grieving watch the sun, whose light in setting        15
        Throws back a parting smile;
Though it will bathe anew the morning sod,
        Still I am sad, O God!
To-day o’er the wide waste of ocean sweeping,
  Hundreds of miles away from shore or rock,        20
I saw the cranes fly on, together keeping
        In one unbroken flock;
Their feet with soil from Poland’s hills were shod,
        And I was sad, O God!
Often by strangers’ tombs I’ve lingered weary,        25
  Since, grown a stranger to my native ways,
I walk a pilgrim through a desert dreary,
        Lit but by lightning’s blaze,
Knowing not where shall fall the burial clod
        Upon my bier, O God!        30
Some time hereafter will my bones lie whitened,
  Somewhere on strangers’ soil, I know not where:
I envy those whose dying hours are lightened,
        Fanned by their native air;
But flowers of some strange land will spring and nod        35
        Above my grave, O God!
When, but a guileless child at home, they bade me
  To pray each day for home restored, I found
My bark was steering—how the thought dismayed me—
        The whole wide world around!        40
Those prayers unanswered, wearily I plod
        Through rugged ways, O God!
Upon the rainbow, whose resplendent rafter
  Thy angels rear above us in the sky,
Others will look a hundred years hereafter,        45
        And pass away as I;
Exiled and hopeless ’neath thy chastening rod,
        And sad as I, O God!

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