My favorite poem(s)

Dr. Ernest N. Prabhakar (ernest@pundit)
Thu, 18 Sep 97 20:23:48 -0700

The Fool's Prayer by Edward Rowland Sill

The royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: "Sir Fool
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer."

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And knelt the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Beneath the painted grin he wore.

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the monarch's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose "O Lord
Be merciful to me, a fool!"

"No pity, Lord, could change the heart
The rod must heal the sin; but, Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

"'Tis not by guilt, the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
'Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

"These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heartstrings of a friend.

"The ill-timed truth we might have kept--
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung!
The words we had not strength to say--
Who knows how grandly it had rung?

"Our faults no tenderness should ask,
The chastening strips must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders--on, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

"Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave and scourge the tool
that did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!"

The room was hushed; in silence rose
The King, and sought his garden cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
"Be merciful to me, a fool."
And my second favorite poem
The Time I've Lost in Wooing by Thomas Moore

The time I've lost in wooing
In watching and pursuing
The light that lies
In woman's eyes
Has been my heart's undoing.
Tho' Wisdom oft has sought me,
I scorn'd the lore she brought me,
My only books
Were women's looks,
And folly's all they taught me.

Her smile when Beauty granted,
I hung with gaze enchanted,
Like him the Sprite
Whom maids by night
Oft meet in glen that's haunted.
Like him, too, Beauty won me;
But when she spell was on me,
If once their ray
Was turn'd away,
O! winds could not outrun me.

And are those follies going?
And is my proud heart growing
Too cold or wise
For brilliant eyes
Again to set it glowing?
No -- vain, alas! th' endeavour
Poor Wisdom's chance
Against a glance
Is now as weak as ever.