Menella Bute Smedley

Love In Sorrow

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What shall I do for thee? Thou hast my prayers,
Ceaseless as stars around the great white throne;
No passing angel but to heaven bears
Thy name, wreath'd round with some sweet orison:
Yet evil on thy path may come and go
Taking deliberate aim to lay thee low,
While I stand still, a looker on, to prove
The penury and weakness of my love.
How shall I comfort thee? My tears are thine,
Full duteously upon thy griefs they wait,
If thou art wrong'd the bitterness is mine,
If thou art lonely I am desolate;
Yet still upon thy brow the darkness lies,
Still the drops gather in thy plaintive eyes,
The nails are sharp, the cross weighs heavily,
I cannot weep away one pang for thee.

The midnight deepens, and I cannot guide;
The tempest threatens, and I cannot shield;
I must behold thee wounded, tempted, tried,
O, agony! I may behold thee yield!
What boots that altar in my heart, whereon
Thy royal image stands, unbreath'd upon
And safe and guarded from irreverent glance
With such array of helpless vigilance?
O, were this all! But no! I have the power
To grieve thee by unwary tone or deed,
Or, niggard in my fears, to miss the hour
For comforting with hope thy time of need;
To hide, too shyly, half the love I feel,
Too roughly touch the wound I come to heal,
Or even (O! pardon,) wayward and unjust
To wrong thee by some moment of mistrust.
Yet I would die for thee, and thou for me;
We know this of each other, and forgive
These tremblings of our faint humanity,
So prompt to die, yet so afraid to live.

Look up to heaven, and wait! Love greets us thence,
Disrobèd of its earthly impotence,
Man's perfect love—below still doom'd to be
Stronger than death, feebler than infancy.

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Menella Bute Smedley