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The Burden of Pity

By A. Bernard Miall

WALK straitly in your ways, O sweer,
    For very pity of my love ;
There is one pathway for your feet,
    One valley in cool hills above,
A way that I sought out for you
In dreams, because my love was true.

Belovèd, will you think that God
    In His own shape had fashioned man,
And watched the path His creature trod
    That ended foul, that fair began ;
With great love, though His eyes were dim
For pity ; could you weep for Him ?

But I a perfect image wrought
    Of all I would have had you be
In likeness of my holiest thought :
    And you have grown less fair to see,
And I more pitiful than God,
Knowing the way you might have trod.


                        By A. Bernard Miall 249

Yet I will deem your heart as pure
    As I have wished it every day,
And call each fault the signature
    Of pain that came and passed away ;
And I will love you more, my sweet,
For every stain on those white feet.

And every wound shall be a mouth
    To sing of what you should have grown
Did winds blow ever from the south,
    If you had never been alone :
My love, that came too late to aid,
For pity shall be threefold made.

Yet, wild rose that the wind has flawed,
    But else more fair than all your kind,
O snowflake on white eyelids thawed
    To leave a falling tear behind,
O wherefore are you not complete,
Or, being ruined, wherefore sweet ?

MLA citation:

Miall, A. Bernard. “The Burden of Pity.” The Yellow Book, vol. 12, January 1897, pp. 248-249. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2020.