I. Life
XXXIII. Griefs.
 

I MEASURE every grief I meet
        With analytic eyes;
I wonder if it weighs like mine,
        Or has an easier size.

I wonder if they bore it long,
        Or did it just begin?
I could not tell the date of mine,
        It feels so old a pain.

I wonder if it hurts to live,
        And if they have to try,
And whether, could they choose between,
        They would not rather die.

I wonder if when years have piled --
        Some thousands -- on the cause
Of early hurt, if such a lapse
        Could give them any pause;

Or would they go on aching still
        Through centuries above,
Enlightened to a larger pain
        By contrast with the love.

The grieved are many, I am told;
        The reason deeper lies, --
Death is but one and comes but once,
        And only nails the eyes.

There's grief of want, and grief of cold, --
        A sort they call 'despair;'
There's banishment from native eyes,
        In sight of native air.

And though I may not guess the kind
        Correctly, yet to me
A piercing comfort it affords
        In passing Calvary,

To note the fashions of the cross,
        Of those that stand alone,
Still fascinated to presume
        That some are like my own.