Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, REALISM, by ARTHUR CHRISTOPHER BENSON



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REALISM, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: And truth, you say, is all divine
Last Line: Is handmaid to the hags of night.
Alternate Author Name(s): Benson, A. C.
Subject(s): Realism; Women


AND truth, you say, is all divine;
'T is truth we live by; let her drench
The shuddering heart like potent wine;
No matter how she wreck or wrench

The gracious instincts from their throne,
Or steep the virgin soul in tears; --
No matter; let her learn her own
Enormities, her vilest fears,

And sound the sickliest depths of crime,
And creep through roaring drains of woe,
To soar at last, unstained, sublime,
Knowing the worst that man can know;

And having won the firmer ground,
When loathing quickens pity's eyes,
Still lean and beckon underground,
And tempt a struggling foot to rise.

Well, well, it is the stronger way!
Heroic stuff is hardly made;
But one, who dallies with dismay,
Admires your boldness, half-afraid.

He deems that knowledge, bitter-sweet,
Can rust and rot the bars of right,
Till weakness sets her trembling feet
Across the threshold of the night.

She peers, she ventures; growing bold,
She breathes the enervating air,
And shuns the aspiring summits, cold
And silent, where the dawn is fair.

She wonders, aching to be free,
Too soft to burst the uncertain band,
Till chains of drear fatality
Arrest the feeble willing hand.

Nay, let the stainless eye of youth
Be blind to that bewildering light!
When faith and virtue falter, truth
Is handmaid to the hags of night.





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