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A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Saturday, October 04, 2003

The Fool's Prayer:

The Fool's Prayer
by Edward Rowland Sill

The royal feast was done; the King
Sought out some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: 'Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!'
The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.
He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the monarch's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: 'O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!
'No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool;
The rod must heal the sin: but Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!
''Tis not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
'Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.
'These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.
'The ill-timed truth we might have kept-
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say-
Who knows how grandly it had rung?
'Our faults no tenderness should ask,
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.
'Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!'
The room was hushed; in silence rose
The king, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
'Be merciful to me, a fool!' "
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