The Wail of Enion
I am made to sow the thistle for wheat, the nettle for a nourishing dainty:
I have planted a false oath in
the earth, it has brought forth a Poison Tree:
I have chosen the serpent for a counsellor, and the dog
a schoolmaster to my children:
I have blotted out from light and living the dove and nightingale,
have causèd the earthworm to beg from door to door:
I have taught the thief a secret path into the house
of the just:
I have taught pale Artifice to spread his nets upon the morning
My heavens are brass, my
earth is iron, my moon a clod of clay,
My sun a pestilence burning at noon, and a vapour of death in
What is the price of Experience? Do men buy it for a song,
Or Wisdom for a dance in the street? No!
it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath -- his house, his wife, his children.
Wisdom is sold in the
desolate market where none come to buy,
And in the wither'd field where the farmer ploughs for bread in
It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer's sun,
And in the vintage, and to sing on the waggon loaded
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted,
To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless
To listen to the hungry raven's cry in wintry season,
When the red blood is fill'd with wine and
with the marrow of lambs:
It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements;
To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the
To see a God on every wind and a blessing on every blast;
To hear sounds of
Love in the thunderstorm that destroys our enemy's house;
To rejoice in the blight that covers his field,
and the sickness that cuts off his children,
While our olive and vine sing and laugh round our door, and
our children bring fruits and flowers.
Then the groan and the dolour are quite forgotten, and the slave grinding at the mill,
And the captive
in chains, and the poor in the prison, and the soldier in the field
When the shatter'd bone hath laid him
groaning among the happier dead:
It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity --
Thus would I
sing and thus rejoice; but it is not so with me.
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