Duty

A poem by Maurice Henry Hewlett

Oh, I am weak to serve thee as I ought;
My shroud of flesh obscures thy deity,
So thy sweet Spirit that should embolden me
To shake my wings out wide, serves me for nought,
But receives tarnish, vile dishonour, wrought
By that thou earnest to bless--O agony
And unendurable shame! that, loving thee,
I dare not love, fearing my poisonous thought!

Man is too vile for any such high grace,
For that he seeks to honour he can but mar;
So had I rather shun thy starry face
And fly the exultation to know thee near--
For if one glance from me wrought thee a scar
'Twould not be death, but life that I should fear.

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