A Diversity of Creatures/The Comforters

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THE COMFORTERS

 
Until thy feet have trod the Road
  Advise not wayside folk,
Nor till thy back has borne the Load
  Break in upon the Broke.


Chase not with undesired largesse
  Of sympathy the heart
Which, knowing her own bitterness,
  Presumes to dwell apart.


Employ not that glad hand to raise
  The God-forgotten head
To Heaven, and all the neighbours' gaze—
  Cover thy mouth instead.


The quivering chin, the bitten lip,
  The cold and sweating brow,
Later may yearn for fellowship—
  Not now, you ass, not now!


Time, not thy ne'er so timely speech,
  Life, not thy views thereon,
Shall furnish or deny to each
  His consolation.

 

Or, if impelled to interfere,
   Exhort, uplift, advise,
Lend not a base, betraying ear
   To all the victim's cries.


Only the Lord can understand
   When those first pangs begin,
How much is reflex action and
   How much is really sin.


E'en from good words thyself refrain,
   And tremblingly admit
There is no anodyne for pain
   Except the shock of it.


So, when thine own dark hour shall fall,
   Unchallenged canst thou say :
'I never worried you at all,
   For God's sake go away!'


This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.