Sunday, June 08, 2014

Poetry Sunday

I first read this poem when I was in high school, and it made a great impression on me. It's still one of my favorites, and makes for a great dramatic reading.

The Fool’s Prayer
by Edward R. 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 stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind 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
From red with wrong to white as wool;
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 word we had not sense to say -
Who knows how grandly it had rung?

Our faults no tenderness should ask,
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders - oh, 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 gardens cool,
And walked apart and murmured low,
‘Be merciful to me, a fool!’

There are a lot of fools nowadays who would do well to study this poem. And few of them should expect mercy at the polls.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Duckbutt said...

A very excellent find.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Methinks I need a walk in the garden.

A great poem!

Mike said...

A new word learned - balsam.