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Lewis Morris (Льюис Моррис)


The True Man


TAKE thou no thought for aught save right and truth,
Life holds for finer souls no equal prize;
Honours and wealth are baubles to the wise,
And pleasure flies on swifter wing than youth.
If in thy heart thou bearest seeds of hell,
Though all men smile, yet what shall be thy gain?
Though all men frown, if truth and right remain,
Take thou no thought for aught; for it is well.

Take thou no thought for aught; nor deem it shame
To lag behind while knaves and dullards rise;
Thy soul asks higher guerdon, purer fame,
Than to loom large and grand in vulgar eyes.
Though thou shouldst live thy life in vile estate,
Silent, yet knowing that deep within thy breast
Unkindled sparks of genius lie repressed,—
Greater is he who is, than seemeth, great.

If thou shouldst spend long years of hope deferred,
Chilled through with doubt, and sickening to despair;
If as cares thicken, friends grow cold and rare,
Nor favouring voice in all the throng be heard;
If all men praise him whom thou know'st to be
Of lower aims and duller brain than thine,—
Take thou no thought, though all men else combine
In thy despite: their praise is naught to thee.

Bethink thee of the irony of fate,
How great men die inglorious and alone;
How Dives sits within upon his throne,
While good men crouch with Lazarus at the gate.
Our tree of life set on Time's hither shore
Blooms like the secular aloe once an age:
The great names scattered on the historic page
Are few indeed, but the unknown are more.

Waste is the rule of life: the gay flowers spring,
The fat fruits drop, upon the untrodden plain;
Sea-sands at ebb are silvered o'er with pain;
The fierce rain beats and mars the feeble wing;
Fair forms grow fairer still for deep disease;
Hearts made to bless are spent apart, alone.
What claim hast thoti to joy, while others moan?
God made us all, and art thou more than these?

Take thou no care for aught save truth and right;
Content, if such thy fate, to die obscure;
Wealth palls and honours, Fame may not endure,
And loftier souls soon weary of delight.
Keep innocence; be all a true man ought;
Let neither pleasure tempt, nor pains appal:
Who hath this, he hath all things, having naught;
Who hath it not, hath nothing, having all. 



Lewis Morris's other poems:
  1. Waking
  2. The Apology
  3. A Yorkshire River
  4. A Hymn in Time of Idols
  5. A Cynic's Day-Dream


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