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Fool's Prayer

THE FOOL'S PRAYER

Edward Rowland Sill (1841-1887)

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!"

'T is not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay; '
'T is 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 heart-strings 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!"

From The Little Book of American Poets, 1787-1900

4 comments :

AngelBaby said...

Very nice, I really enjoy the poem.

I have something for you at my site.

Love and Blessings,
AngelBaby

ndpthepoetress - Jeane Michelle Culp said...

Thank You AngelBaby, you're too sweet :) I'll be by soon. Hugs from above!

Cooper said...

enjoyed the poem and love the new look.

ndpthepoetress - Jeane Michelle Culp said...

How ironic Cooper, I was just thinking about you. Said to myself, now that my migraines are giving me a small break I want to go catch up on your blogs soon. Thank You for the first compliment on my new blog look! Peace :)