SYMPATHY

Is the way hard and thorny, oh, my brother?
Do tempests beat, and adverse wild winds blow?
And are you spent, and broken, at each nightfall,
Yet with each morn you rise and onward go?
     Brother, I know, I know!
     I, too, have journeyed so.

Is your heart mad with longing, oh, my sister?
Are all great passions in your breast aglow?
Does the white wonder of your own soul blind you,
And are you torn with rapture and with woe?
     Sister, I know, I know!
     I, too, have suffered so.

Is the road filled with snare and quicksand, pilgrim?
Do pitfalls lie where roses seem to grow?
And have you sometimes stumbled in the darkness,
And are you bruised and scarred by many a blow?
     Pilgrim, I know, I know,
     I, too, have stumbled so.

Do you send out rebellious cry and question,
As mocking hours pass silently and slow?
Does your insistent "wherefore" bring no answer,
While stars wax pale with watching, and droop low?
     I, too, have questioned so,
     But now I know, I know!
To toil, to strive, to err, to cry, to grow,
To love through all--this is the way to know.

World Voices by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
New York : Hearst'ss International Library Company 1916.


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