Woe

The Trial By Existence -

Even the bravest that are slain
Shall not dissemble their surprise
On waking to find valor reign,
Even as on earth, in paradise;
And where they sought without the sword
Wide fields of asphodel fore’er,
To find that the utmost reward
Of daring should be still to dare.

The light of heaven falls whole and white
And is not shattered into dyes,
The light for ever is morning light;
The hills are verdured pasture-wise;
The angel hosts with freshness go,
And seek with laughter what to brave;—
And binding all is the hushed snow
Of the far-distant breaking wave.

And from a cliff-top is proclaimed
The gathering of the souls for birth,
The trial by existence named,
The obscuration upon earth.
And the slant spirits trooping by
In streams and cross- and counter-streams
Can but give ear to that sweet cry
For its suggestion of what dreams!

And the more loitering are turned
To view once more the sacrifice
Of those who for some good discerned
Will gladly give up paradise.
And a white shimmering concourse rolls
Toward the throne to witness there
The speeding of devoted souls
Which God makes his especial care.

And none are taken but who will,
Having first heard the life read out
That opens earthward, good and ill,
Beyond the shadow of a doubt;
And very beautifully God limns,
And tenderly, life’s little dream,
But naught extenuates or dims,
Setting the thing that is supreme.

Nor is there wanting in the press
Some spirit to stand simply forth,
Heroic in its nakedness,
Against the uttermost of earth.
The tale of earth’s unhonored things
Sounds nobler there than ’neath the sun;
And the mind whirls and the heart sings,
And a shout greets the daring one.

But always God speaks at the end:
’One thought in agony of strife
The bravest would have by for friend,
The memory that he chose the life;
But the pure fate to which you go
Admits no memory of choice,
Or the woe were not earthly woe
To which you give the assenting voice.’

And so the choice must be again,
But the last choice is still the same;
And the awe passes wonder then,
And a hush falls for all acclaim.
And God has taken a flower of gold
And broken it, and used therefrom
The mystic link to bind and hold
Spirit to matter till death come.

‘Tis of the essence of life here,
Though we choose greatly, still to lack
The lasting memory at all clear,
That life has for us on the wrack
Nothing but what we somehow chose;
Thus are we wholly stripped of pride
In the pain that has but one close,
Bearing it crushed and mystified.

MAN'S CIVIL WAR -
MY hovering thoughts would fly to heaven
And quiet nestle in the sky,
Fain would my ship in Virtue's shore
Without remove at anchor lie.

But mounting thoughts are halèd down
With heavy poise of mortal load,
And blustring storms deny my ship
In Virtue's haven secure abode.

When inward eye to heavenly sights
Doth draw my longing heart's desire,
The world with jesses of delights
Would to her perch my thoughts retire,

Fon Fancy trains to Pleasure's lure,
Though Reason stiffly do repine ;
Though Wisdom woo me to the saint,
Yet Sense would win me to the shrine.

Where Reason loathes, there Fancy loves,
And overrules the captive will ;
Foes senses are to Virtue's lore,
They draw the wit their wish to fill.

Need craves consent of soul to sense,
Yet divers bents breed civil fray ;
Hard hap where halves must disagree,
Or truce halves the whole betray !

O cruel fight ! where fighting friend
With love doth kill a favoring foe,
Where peace with sense is war with God,
And self-delight the seed of woe !

Dame Pleasure's drugs are steeped in sin,
Their sugared taste doth breed annoy ;
O fickle sense ! beware her gin,
Sell not thy soul to brittle joy !

Pour out thy heart to the Rock,
Pour out thy inmost soul
To the stronghold naught can shock,
As the mornings and evenings roll.

To Him who around and before
Is, whether thou rest or roam,
To Him let thy thoughts upsoar,
Be thou on the road or at home.

Thus tested by praise and belief,
Thou favour divine shalt gain,
He will turn His ear to thy grief,
He will bend His eye on thy pain.

Behold, He will pay thy reward,
Thou shalt share the abode of the blest,
For the day thou return to the Lord,
He will draw thee close to His breast.

We ache with weights of mysteries
Our ears hear voices from the infinite,
That takes the hushed soul captive.

The positive
desire for self-work and growth is often hampered by our weak character,
forgetfulness, instability and the many other attacks our yetzer (evil inclination)
launches upon us. [We say to ourselves:] “The ground you have given me is
infertile…” Woe is to the one who lacks patience with oneself! Such an
individual will speedily despair from all self-work and growth, and even if he
does not totally lose hope, he inevitably falls into sadness, and there is no
greater damaging state of being to our service of Hashem than sadness.

“According to one’s abilities” is the essential rule in the service of Hashem.
And our abilities are limited. Each pathway into self-growth which we
endeavor to present throughout this work is built upon this important
foundation: We must always move slowly with our work, never overburdening
ourselves or being extreme with what we try to do. “One who grabs much, will
not attain, and one who grabs little will attain.” (Tractate Kiddushin 17a) And
even regarding the little we can do, we will fail not once or twice, nevertheless
we can never despair. Rather, we must persevere and stubbornly begin anew
until, with Hashem’s help, we succeed.

The essence of prayer does not consist in asking God for something but in opening our hearts to God, in speaking with Him, and living with Him in perpetual communion. Prayer is continual abandonment to God. Prayer does not mean asking God for all kinds of things we want; it is rather the desire for God Himself, the only Giver of Life, Prayer is not asking, but union with God. Prayer is not a painful effort to gain from God help in the varying needs of our lives. Prayer is the desire to possess God Himself, the Source of all life. The true spirit of prayer does not consist in asking for blessings, but in receiving Him who is the giver of all blessings, and in living a life of fellowship with Him.

Already I had learned from thee that because a thing is eloquently expressed it should not be taken to be as necessarily true; nor because it is uttered with stammering lips should it be supposed false. Nor, again, is it necessarily true because rudely uttered, nor untrue because the language is brilliant. Wisdom and folly both are like meats that are wholesome and unwholesome, and courtly or simple words are like town-made or rustic vessels — both kinds of food may be served in either kind of dish.

Give, O Lord, what Thou commandest, and then command what Thou wilt.

Thou must be emptied of that wherewith thou art full, that thou mayest be filled with that whereof thou art empty.

It is a maxim of ours to work in the service of the people, with the good pleasure of the pastors, and never to act contrary to their wishes. And, at the opening and closing of each mission, we get their blessing in a spirit of dependence.

Propositions prey upon and are grounded upon one another just like living forms. They support one another as plants and animals do; they are based ultimately on credit, or faith, rather than the cash of irrefragable conviction. The whole universe is carried on on the credit system, and if the mutual confidence on which it is based were to collapse, it must itself collapse immediately. Just or unjust, it lives by faith; it is based on vague and impalpable opinion that by some inscrutable process passes into will and action, and is made manifest in matter and in flesh; it is meteoric — suspended in mid-air; it is the baseless fabric of a vision to vast, so vivid, and so gorgeous that no base can seem more broad than such stupendous baselessness, and yet any man can bring it about his ears by being over-curious; when faith fails, a system based on faith fails also.

Nobody can be so amusingly arrogant as a young man who has just discovered an old idea and thinks it is his own.

Viewed purely in the abstract, I think there can be no question that women should have equal rights with men....Especially as regards the laws relating to marriage there should be the most absolute equality between the two sexes. I do not think the woman should assume the man's name.

When the voices of children are heard on the green,
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast,
And everything else is still.

‘Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,
And the dews of night arise;
Come, come, leave off play, and let us away
Till the morning appears in the skies.’

‘No, no, let us play, for it is yet day,
And we cannot go to sleep;
Besides, in the sky the little birds fly,
And the hills are all cover’d with sheep.’

‘Well, well, go and play till the light fades away,
And then go home to bed.’
The little ones leapèd and shoutèd and laugh’d
And all the hills echoèd.

The man of Woe -

The mann whose thoughtes agaynste him do conspyre,
One whom Mishapp her storye dothe depaynt,
The mann of woe, the matter of desier,
Free of the dead, that lives in endles plaint,
His spirit am I, whiche in this deserte lye,
To rue his case, whose cause I cannot flye.

Despayre my name, whoe never findes releife,
Frended of none, but to my selfe a foe;
An idle care, mayntaynde by firme beleife
That prayse of faythe shall throughe my torments growe,
And counte those hopes, that others hartes do ease,
Butt base conceites the common sense to please.

For sure I am I never shall attayne
The happy good from whence my joys aryse;
Nor haue I powre my sorrows to refrayne
But wayle the wante, when noughte ellse maye suffyse;
Whereby my lyfe the shape of deathe muste beare,
That deathe which feeles the worst that lyfe doth feare.

But what auayles withe tragicall complaynte,
Not hopinge healpe, the Furyes to awake?
Or why shoulde I the happy mynds aquaynte
With doleful tunnes, theire settled peace to shake?
All ye that here behoulde Infortune's feare,
May judge noe woe may withe my gref compare.

Finis.
Sir Edward Dyer

And love is love, in beggars and in kings.

For all eternity, I forgive you and you forgive me.

Listen to the fools reproach! It is a kingly title!