Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON THE ORIGIN OF EVIL, by JOHN BYROM



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ON THE ORIGIN OF EVIL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Evil, if rightly understood, / is but the skeleton of good
Last Line: Will all be paradise again.
Subject(s): Evil


EVIL, if rightly understood,
Is but the skeleton of good,
Divested of its flesh and blood.

While it remains without divorce
Within its hidden, secret source,
It is the good's own strength and force.

As bone has the supporting share
In human form divinely fair,
Although an evil when laid bare;

As light and air are fed by fire,
A shining good while all conspire,
But (separate) dark, raging ire;

As hope and love arise from faith,
Which then admits no ill, nor hath,
But, if alone, it would be wrath;

Or any instance thought upon
In which the evil can be none,
Till unity of good is gone;

So, by abuse of thought and skill,
The greatest good, to wit free-will,
Becomes the origin of ill.

Thus when rebellious angels fell,
The very heav'n, where good ones dwell,
Became th' apostate spirits' hell.

Seeking, against eternal right,
A force without a love and light,
They found and felt its evil might.

Thus Adam biting at their bait,
Of good and evil when he ate,
Died to his first thrice happy state;

Fell to the evils of this ball,
Which, in harmonious union all,
Were Paradise before his fall.

And when the life of Christ in men
Revives its faded image, then
Will all be Paradise again.





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