ON ANOTHER'S SORROW.
Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?
Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no; never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
And can he, who smiles on all,
Hear the wren, with sorrows small--
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear,
And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast?
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?
And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
Oh, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!
He doth give his joy to all;
He becomes an infant small;
He becomes a man of woe;
He doth feel the sorrow too.
Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by;
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.
Oh! he gives to us his joy,
That our grief he may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone,
He doth sit by us and moan.
There is our mystic yet again leading the way.
A supreme regard for science, and the worship of power, go hand in hand:
that knowledge is power has been esteemed the grandest incitement to
study. Yet the antidote to the disproportionate cultivation of science,
is simply power in its crude form--breaking out, that is, as brute force.
When science, isolated and glorified, has produced a contempt, not only
for vulgar errors, but for the truths which are incapable of scientific
proof, then, as we see in the French Revolution, the wild beast in man
breaks from its den, and chaos returns. But all the noblest minds in
Europe looked for grand things in the aurora of this uprising of the
people. To the terrible disappointment that followed, we are indebted for
the training of Wordsworth to the priesthood of nature's temple. So was
he possessed with the hope of a coming deliverance for the nations, that
he spent many months in France during the Revolution. At length he was
forced to seek safety at home. Dejected even to hopelessness for a time,
he believed in nothing. How could there be a God that ruled in the earth
when such a rising sun of promise was permitted to set in such a sea!
But for man to worship himself is a far more terrible thing than that
blood should flow like water: the righteous plague of God allowed things
to go as they would for a time. But the power of God came upon
Wordsworth--I cannot say as it had never come before, but with an added
insight which made him recognize in the fresh gift all that he had known
and felt of such in the past. To him, as to Cowper, the benignities of
nature restored peace and calmness and hope--sufficient to enable him to
look back and gather wisdom. He was first troubled, then quieted, and
then taught. Such presence of the Father has been an infinitely more
active power in the redemption of men than men have yet become capable of
perceiving. The divine expressions of Nature, that is, the face of the
Father therein visible, began to heal the plague which the worship of
knowledge had bred. And the power of her teaching grew from comfort to
prayer, as will be seen in the poem I shall give. Higher than all that
Nature can do in the way of direct lessoning, is the production of such
holy moods as result in hope, conscience of duty, and supplication. Those
who have never felt it have to be told there is in her such a
power--yielding to which, the meek inherit the earth.