There is much that makes me sorry as I journey down earth's way,
And I seem to see more pathos in poor human lives each day.
I'm sorry for the strong, brave men who shield the weak from harm,
But who in their own troubled hour find no protecting arm.
I'm sorry for the victors who have reached success, to stand
As targets for the arrows shot by envious failure's hand;
I'm sorry for the generous hearts who freely shared their wine,
But drink alone the gall of tears in fortune's drear decline.
I'm sorry for the souls who build their own fame's funeral pyre,
Derided by the scornful throng, like ice deriding fire;
And I'm sorry for the conquering ones who know not sin's defeat,
But daily tread down fierce desire 'neath scorched and bleeding feet.
I'm sorry for the anguished hearts that break with passion's strain,
But I'm sorrier for the poor starved souls that never knew love's pain,
Who hunger on through barren years not tasting joys they crave;
For sadder far is such a lot than weeping o'er a grave.
I'm sorry for the souls that come unwelcomed into birth;
I'm sorry for the unloved old who cumber up the earth;
I'm sorry for the suffering poor in life's great maelstrom hurled;--
In truth I'm sorry for them all who make this toiling world.
But underneath whate'er seems sad and is not understood
I know there lies, hid from our sight, a mighty germ of good;
And this belief stands firm by me, my sermon, motto, text--
The sorriest things in this life will seem grandest in the next.
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Munsey's Magazine XI(5) (August, 1894): 464.
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