John Hay

(8 October 1838 – 1 July 1905 / Salem, Indiana)

Compensation Poem by John Hay


Pindar, the Theban, sang to Hieron
In Doric verse, rich as rough-hammered gold,
The Immortals deal to men, now as of old,
Two ill things for one good. These words, forth blown
From such a trumpet, through the ages groan
A note of misery. And yet I hold
That though they deal us evils manifold
We owe the High Powers gratitude alone.
For one good may be worth a thousand ills;
And all the sum of wretchedness that fills
The travailing earth, the sea, the arching blue
Cannot exceed the wealth of joy that lies
In sweet, low words, in smiles and loving eyes
Cannot compare with love, if love be true.

Submitted: Saturday, January 4, 2003

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