“O Time, whence comes the Mother’s moody look amid her labours,
As of one who all unwittingly has wounded where she loves?
Why weaves she not her world-webs to according lutes and tabors,
With nevermore this too remorseful air upon her face,
As of angel fallen from grace?”
– “Her look is but her story: construe not its symbols keenly:
In her wonderworks yea surely has she wounded where she loves.
The sense of ills misdealt for blisses blanks the mien most
Self-smitings kill self-joys; and everywhere beneath the sun
Such deeds her hands have done.”
– “And how explains thy Ancient Mind her crimes upon her creatures,
These fallings from her fair beginnings, woundings where she
Into her would-be perfect motions, modes, effects, and features
Admitting cramps, black humours, wan decay, and baleful blights,
Distress into delights?”
– “Ah! know’st thou not her secret yet, her vainly veiled deficience,
Whence it comes that all unwittingly she wounds the lives she
That sightless are those orbs of hers? which bar to her
Brings those fearful unfulfilments, that red ravage through her zones
Whereat all creation groans.
“She whispers it in each pathetic strenuous slow endeavour,
When in mothering she unwittingly sets wounds on what she loves;
Yet her primal doom pursues her, faultful, fatal is she ever;
Though so deft and nigh to vision is her facile finger-touch
That the seers marvel much.
“Deal, then, her groping skill no scorn, no note of malediction;
Not long on thee will press the hand that hurts the lives it
And while she dares dead-reckoning on, in darkness of affliction,
Assist her where thy creaturely dependence can or may,
For thou art of her clay.”