The Bedridden Peasant

To An Unknown God

Much wonder I—here long low-laid—
       That this dead wall should be
Betwixt the Maker and the made,
       Between Thyself and me!

For, say one puts a child to nurse,
       He eyes it now and then
To know if better it is, or worse,
       And if it mourn, and when.

But Thou, Lord, givest men their day
       In helpless bondage thus
To Time and Chance, and seem’st straightway
       To think no more of us!

That some disaster cleft Thy scheme
       And tore it wide apart,
So that no cry can cross, I deem;
       For Thou art mild of heart,

And wouldst not shape and shut us in
       Where voice can not be heard:
Plainly Thou meantest we should win
       Thy succour by a word.

Might but Thy sense flash down the skies
       Like man’s from clime to clime,
Thou wouldst not let me agonize
       Through my remaining time;

But, seeing how much Thy creatures bear—
       Lame, starved, or maimed, or blind—
Wouldst heal the ills with quickest care
       Of me and all my kind. . . .

Since, making not these things to be,
       These things Thou dost not know,
I’ll praise Thee as were shown to me
       The mercies Thou wouldst show!

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