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Sympathy Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Other Side by Anonymous
  2. If We Understood by Anonymous
  3. Two Pictures by John Charles McNeill
  4. Sympathy by Emily Brontë

  1. The Other Side

    by Anonymous

    Your side is gold, the other side is brass?
    Perhaps but stay your pride,
    Gold may be tarnished, brass be radiant;
    Look on the other side.

    Your side is true, the other side is false?
    Perhaps; but time and tide
    Have often overturned the thoughts of men;
    Look on the other side.

  2. If We Understood

    We'd love each other better,
    If we only understood.

    - Anonymous
    If We Understood
    by Anonymous

    Could we but draw back the curtains
    That surround each other's lives,
    See the naked heart and spirit,
    Know what spur the action gives,
    Often we should find it better,
    Purer than we judged we should,
    We should love each other better,
    If we only understood.

    Could we judge all deeds by motives,
    See the good and bad within,
    Often we should love the sinner
    All the while we loathe the sin;
    Could we know the powers working
    To o'erthrow integrity,
    We should judge each other's errors
    With more patient charity.

    If we knew the cares and trials,
    Knew the effort all in vain,
    And the bitter disappointment,
    Understood the loss and gain—
    Would the grim, eternal roughness
    Seem—I wonder—just the same?
    Should we help where now we hinder,
    Should we pity where we blame?

    Ah! we judge each other harshly,
    Knowing not life's hidden force;
    Knowing not the fount of action
    Is less turbid at its source;
    Seeing not amid the evil
    All the golden grains of good;
    Oh! we'd love each other better,
    If we only understood.

  3. Two Pictures

    by John Charles McNeill

    One sits in soft light, where the hearth is warm,
    A halo, like an angel's, on her hair.
    She clasps a sleeping infant in her arm.
    A holy presence hovers round her there,
    And she, for all her mother-pains more fair,
    Is happy, seeing that all sweet thoughts that stir
    The hearts of men bear worship unto her.

    Another wanders where the cold wind blows,
    Wet-haired, with eyes that sting one like a knife.
    Homeless forever, at her bosom close
    She holds the purchase of her love and life,
    Of motherhood, unglorified as wife;
    And bitterer than the world's relentless scorn
    The knowing her child were happier never born.

    Whence are the halo and the fiery shame
    That fashion thus a crown and curse of love?
    Have roted words such power to bless and blame?
    Ay, men have stained a raven from many a dove,
    And all the grace and all the grief hereof
    Are the two words which bore one's lips apart
    And which the other hoarded in her heart.

    He who stooped down and wrote upon the sand,
    The God-heart in him touched to tenderness,
    Saw deep, saw what we cannot understand,—
    We, who draw near the shrine of one to bless
    The while we scourge another's sore distress,
    And judge like gods between the ill and good,
    The glory and the guilt of womanhood.

  4. Sympathy

    by Emily Brontë

    There should be no despair for you
    While nightly stars are burning,
    While evening pours its silent dew,
    And sunshine gilds the morning.
    There should be no despair—though tears
    May flow down like a river:
    Are not the best beloved of years
    Around your heart for ever?

    They weep, you weep, it must be so;
    Winds sigh as you are sighing,
    And winter sheds its grief in snow
    Where Autumn's leaves are lying:
    Yet, these revive, and from their fate
    Your fate cannot be parted:
    Then, journey on, if not elate,
    Still never broken-hearted!

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