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Dinah Maria Craik (Дина Мария Крейк)

The Good of It

   A Cynic’s Song
SOME men strut proudly, all purple and gold,
Hiding queer deeds ‘neath a cloak of good fame;
I creep along, braving hunger and cold,
To keep my heart stainless as well as my name;
So, so, where is the good of it?
Some clothe bare Truth in fine garments of words,
Fetter her free limbs with cumbersome state:
With me, let me sit at the lordliest boards,
’I love’ means I love, and 'I hate’ means I hate,
But, but, where is the good of it?
Some have rich dainties and costly attire,
Guests fluttering round them and duns at the door:
I crouch alone at my plain board and fire,
Enjoy what I pay for and scorn to have more.
Yet, yet, where is the good of it?
Some gather round them a phalanx of friends,
Scattering affection like coin in a crowd;
I keep my heart for the few that heaven sends,
Where they’ll find their names writ when I lie in my shroud.
Still, still, where is the good of it?
Some toy with love, lightly come, lightly go,
A blithe game at hearts, little worth, little cost:—
I staked my whole soul on one desperate throw,
A life 'gainst an hour’s sport. We played’ and I—lost
Ha, ha, such was the good of it!
Moral: Added On His Death-Bed
TURN the Past’s mirror backward. Its shadows removed,
The dim confused mass becomes softened, sublime:
I have worked—I have felt—I have lived—I have loved,
And each was a step towards the goal I now climb:
Thou, God, Thou sawest the good of it.

Dinah Maria Craik's other poems:
  1. “Philip, My King”
  2. My Love Annie
  3. Cathair Fhargus
  4. Rothesay Bay
  5. A German Student’s Funeral Hymn

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