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12. And witness, moreover ... Ah, but wait !

I spy the loop whence an arrow shoots ! It may be for yourself, when you meditate,

That you grieve — for slain ruth, murdered truth : “ Though falsehood escape in the end, what boots ? How truth would have triumphed !” — you sigh too


13. Ay, who would have triumphed like you, I say!

Well, it is lost now; well, you must bear, Abide and grow fit for a better day:

You should hardly grudge, could I be your judge ! But hush! For you, can be no despair :

There's amends : 't is a secret : hope and pray!

14. For I was true at least — O, true enough!

And, dear, truth is not as good as it seems! Commend me to conscience ! Idle stuff!

Much help is in mine, as I mope and pine, And skulk through day, and scowl in my dreams

At my swan's obtaining the crow's rebuff.


Men tell me of truth now — “ False !” I cry:

Of beauty —“ A mask, friend! Look beneath !” We take our own method, the Devil and I,

With pleasant and fair and wise and rare : And the best we wish to what lives, is - death ;

Which even in wishing, perhaps we lie !

16. Far better commit a fault and have done —

As you, dear !—forever; and choose the pure, And look where the healing waters run,

And strive and strain to be good again, And a place in the other world insure,

All glass and gold, with God for its sun.


Misery! What shall I say or do ?

I cannot advise, or, at least, persuade :
Most like, you are glad you deceived me — rue

No whit of the wrong: you endured too long,
Have done no evil and want no aid,

Will live the old life out and chance the new.


And your sentence is written all the same,

And I can do nothing, - pray, perhaps : But somehow the world pursues its game,

If I pray, if I curse, — for better or worse : And my faith is torn to a thousand scraps,

And my heart feels ice while my words breathe flame.


Dear, I look from my hiding-place.

Are you still so fair ? Have you still the eyes ? Be happy! Add but the other grace,

Be good! Why want what the angels vaunt ? I knew you once : but in Paradise,

If we meet, I will pass nor turn my face.




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