Archive for June 19th, 2013

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Abelard to Heloise by John Sterling

When unveiled by Truth’s compulsion,
Life without a smile appears,
And the breaking heart’s convulsion
Finds no vent in words or tears;

Naught can cheer the dark existence
Which we may not fly from yet;
But with Fate’s severe assistance,
Though we live, we may forget.

Patience, quiet, toil, denial,
These though hard are good for man;
And the martyred spirit’s trial
Gains it more than passion can.

This have thou and I been learning,
Lesson strange to young and old;
But while loving, shrinking, yearning,
Be it still the faith we hold.

For while woe is broad and patent,
Filling, clouding all the sight,
Ever meliora latent,
And a dawn will end the night.

Meliora latent ever;
Better than the seen lies hid:
Time the curtain’s dusk will sever,
And will raise the casket’s lid.

This our hope for all that’s mortal,
And we too shall burst our bond;
Death keeps watch beside the portal,
But ’tis Life that dwells beyond.

Still the final hour befriends us,
Nature’s direst though it be;
And the fiercest pang that rends us,
Does its worst – and sets us free.

While our seekings, lingerings, fleeings,
Most inflame us, most destroy;
It is much for weakest beings
Still to hope though not enjoy.

Then from earth’s immediate sorrow
Toward the skyey future turn;
And from its unseen to-morrow
Fill to-day’s exhausted urn.

From: Sterling, John, Poems,1839, Edward Moxon, Dover Street: London, pp. 208-210.

Date: 1839

By: John Sterling (1806-1844)