A poem by Wilfred S. Skeats

A Response to "Courage," by Celia Thaxter.

You have said that there is not a fear
Or a doubt that oppresses your soul,
That your faith is so strong
That it bears you along,
Ever holding you in its control.

'Tis a comfort to know there is one
Whose allegiance cannot be denied,
But I fain would enquire,
(For your faith is far high'r
Than is mine): Have you ever been tried?

Have you sought to aspire to a life
Higher far than the one that is past?
Have you laboured through years,
By your hopes crushing fears,
But to meet disappointment at last?

Have the friends who should love you the best,
In your absence forgotten that love,
And refused to impart
To your grief-stricken heart
All the solace their kindness would prove?

Has the world misconstrued your intents,
And endeavoured to sully your fame?
Has the venomous tongue
With its calumny stung
Your proud heart, and dishonoured your name?

I desire not to "chide" you nor "vex,"
But I ask you to answer me now;
Did the torturing pain
Of a love that is vain
Ever furrow your heart like a plough?

Have you loved with so fervent a love
That, when failure and hopelessness came,
All the torments of hell
In your breast seemed to dwell,
Scorching courage and faith in their flame?

One of these may have fall'n to your lot;
What if all were apportioned to me?
Could I then "lift my head,"
Nor a single tear shed?--
Has such faith been allotted to thee?

I have sought to be true to my God,
I have sought to be faithful as you;
But such "tumult and strife"
Have embittered my life
That I am not so faultlessly true.

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