Poet Adam Lindsay Gordon

Adam Lindsay Gordon

Two Exhortations Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


A Shooting box in the West of Ireland A BedchamberA
Surely in the great beginning God made all things good and stillC
That soul sickness men call sinning entered not without His willC
Nay our wisest have asserted that as shade enhances lightB
Evil is but good perverted wrong is but the foil of rightB
Banish sickness then you banish joy for health to all that liveD
Slay all sin all good must vanish good being but comparativeE
Sophistry you say yet listen look you skyward there 'tis knownF
Worlds on worlds in myriads glisten larger lovelier than our ownF
This has been and this still shall be here as there in sun or starG
These things are to be and will be those things were to be and areG
Man in man's imperfect nature is by imperfection taughtH
Add one cubit to your stature if you can by taking thoughtH
Thus you would not teach that peasant though he calls you fatherA
True I should magnify this present mystify that future tooJ
We adapt our conversation always to our hearer's lightB
I am not of your persuasionK
Yet the difference is but slightB
I even I say He who barters worldly weal for heavenly worthL
He does well your saints and martyrs were examples here on earthL
Aye in earlier Christian ages while the heathen empire stoodM
When the war 'twixt saints and sages cried aloud for saintly bloodN
Christ was then their model truly Now if all were meek and pureO
Save the ungodly and the unruly would the Christian Church endureO
Shall the toiler or the fighter dream by day and watch by nightB
Turn the left cheek to the smiter smitten rudely on the rightB
Strong men must encounter bad men so called saints of latter daysP
Have been mostly pious madmen lusting after righteous praiseP
Or the thralls of superstition doubtless worthy some rewardQ
Since they came by their condition hardly of their free accordQ
'Tis but madness sad and solemn that these fakir Christians feelR
Saint Stylites on his column gratified a morbid zealR
By your showing good is really on a par of worth with illC
Nay I said not so I merely tell you both some ends fulfilC
Priestly vows were my vocation fast and vigil wait for meS
You must work and face temptation Never should the strong man fleeS
Though God wills the inclination with the soul at war to be PausesT
In the strife 'twixt flesh and spirit while you can the spirit aidU
Should you fall not less your merit be not for a fall afraidU
Whatsoe'er most right most fit is you shall do When all is doneK
Chaunt the noble Nunc Dimittis Benedicimur my sonK
Laurence aloneF
Why do I provoke these wrangles Melchior talks as well he mayV
With the tongues of men and angelsW
Takes up a pamphlet What has this man got to sayV
Reads Sic sacerdos fatur ejus nomen quondam erat BurgoX
Mala mens est caro pejus anima infirma ergoX
I nunc ora sine mora orat etiam Sancta VirgoX
Speaks So it seems they mean to make her wed the usurer Nathan LeeS
Poor Estelle her friends forsake her what has this to do with meS
Glad I am at least that Helen still refuses to discardZ
Her through tales false gossips tell in spite or heedlessness 'Tis hardZ
Lee the Levite some few years back Herbert horsewhipp'd him the curA
Show'd his teeth and laid his ears back Now his wealth has purchased herA
Must his baseness mar her brightness Shall the callous cunning churlS
Revel in the rosy whiteness of that golden headed girlS
Thinks and smokesA2
Reads Cito certe venit vitae finis sic sacerdos faturA
Nunc audite omnes ite vobis fabula narraturA
Nunc orate et laudate laudat etiam Alma MaterA
Muses Such has been and such shall still be here as there in sun or starA
These things are to be and will be those things were to be and areA
If I thought that speech worth heeding I should Nay it seems to meS
More like Satan's special pleading than like Gloria DomineS
Lies down on his couchB2
Reads Et tuquoque frater meus facta mala quod fecistiZ
Denique confundit Deus omnes res quas tetegistiZ
Nunc si unquam nunc aut nunquam sanguine adjuro ChristiZ

Adam Lindsay Gordon


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