The Wild Knight and Other Poems/The Pessimist
You that have snarled through the ages, take your answer and go -
I know your hoary question, the riddle that all men know.
You have weighed the stars in a balance, and grasped the skies in a span:
Take, if you must have answer, the word of a common man.
Deep in my life lies buried one love unhealed, unshriven,
One hunger still shall haunt me - yea, in the streets of heaven;
This is the burden, babbler, this is the curse shall cling,
This is the thing I bring you; this is the pleasant thing.
'Gainst you and all your sages, no joy of mine shall strive,
This one dead self shall shatter the men you call alive.
My grief I send to smite you, no pleasure, no belief,
Lord of the battered grievance, what do you know of grief?
I only know the praises to heaven that one man gave,
That he came on earth for an instant, to stand beside a grave,
The peace of a field of battle, where flowers are born of blood.
I only know one evil that makes the whole world good.
Beneath this single sorrow the globe of moon and sphere
Turns to a single jewel, so bright and brittle and dear
That I dread lest God should drop it, to be dashed into stars below.
You that have snarled through the ages, take your answer and go.