Tò kalón

A poem by Arthur Hugh Clough

I have seen higher holier things than these,
And therefore must to these refuse my heart,
Yet am I panting for a little ease;
I’ll take, and so depart.

Ah, hold! the heart is prone to fall away,
Her high and cherished visions to forget,
And if thou takest, how wilt thou repay
So vast, so dread a debt?

How will the heart, which now thou trustest, then
Corrupt, yet in corruption mindful yet,
Turn with sharp stings upon itself! Again,
Bethink thee of the debt!

Hast thou seen higher, holier things than these,
And therefore must to these thy heart refuse?
With the true best, alack, how ill agrees
That best that thou would’st choose!

The Summum Pulchrum rests in heaven above;
Do thou, as best thou may’st, thy duty do
Amid the things allowed thee live and love;
Some day thou shalt it view.

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