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Three from Walsh & Shuster II

Three sonnets by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.

The Sinner-Saint

If I have since done evil in my life,
I was not born for evil. This I know—
My soul was a thing pure from sensual strife.
No vice of the blood foredoomed me to this woe.
I did not love corruption. Beauty, truth,
Justice, compassion, peace with God and man,
These were my laws, the instincts of my youth,
And hold me still, conceal it as I can.
I did not love corruption, nor do love.
I find it ill to hate and ill to grieve.
Nature designed me for a life above
The mere discordant dreams in which I live.
If I now go a beggar on the Earth,
I was saint of Heaven by right of birth.

Prison Sonnet

"Honored I lived erewhile with honored men
   In opulent state. My table nightly spread
Found guests of worth—peer, priest, and citizen,
   And poet crowned, and beauty garlanded.
   Nor these alone, for hunger too I fed,
And many a lean tramp and sad Magdalen
   Passed from my doors less hard for sake of bread.
Whom grudged I ever purse or hand or pen?

"To-night, unwelcomed at these gates of woe
   I stand with churls, and there is none to greet
My weariness with smile or courtly show,
   Nor, though I hunger long, to bring me meat.
God! what a little accident of gold
Fences our weakness from the wolves of old!"

How Shall I Build

How shall I build my temple to the Lord,
Unworthy I, who am thus foul of heart?
How shall I worship who no traitor word
Know but of love to play a suppliant's part?
How shall I pray, whose soul is as a mart,
For thoughts unclean, whose tongue is as a sword
Even for those it loves, to wound and smart?
Behold how little I can help Thee, Lord.

The Temple I would build should be all white,
Each stone the record of a blameless day;
The souls that entered there should walk in light,
Clothed in high chastity and wisely gay.
Lord, here is darkness. Yet this heart unwise,
Bruised in Thy service, take in sacrifice.

The Catholic Anthology: The World's Great Catholic Poetry (revised edition, 1940), ed. Thomas Walsh and George N. Shuster, pp. 285f.

See also Three from Walsh & Shuster I: Three sonnets by Michelangelo Buonarroti.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Sun. 04/03/05 06:45:00 PM
Categorized as Literary & Sunday Poetry Series.


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