Proverbs - Poem by William Baylebridge
One continent, one creed, one skin -
Our health and savour lie therein.
From wars and heavy things this grace is won -
They urge our pulse to unison.
Shall this remoteness hinder thee?
Pluck thence a call to sovereignty -
Thou centre of the world to be!
The servile State is what? a prison - one
For superseded life or, strictly, none.
Where the ignoble State is sanctified
See universal suicide.
Not numbers shall the State exalt
If civic virtue be at fault.
If virtue grounds but on negation,
Seek other ground on which to build a nation.
The larger good, supplanting this, is gall -
How else? - to the overreaching of the small.
A "fortune" won: a speciousness the State
Will blot as illegitimate.
National growth how presses! Shall it be
For creed or caste put off whose prophets see
No virtue in the essential unity?
That knife for thee - thou help'st them sharpen it.
Where is thy spirit? where thy wit?
'Tis better, much! But who has felt and proved,
Till hate the foe hath grappled, how he loved?
What takes its stature, whole, erect,
Till measured in the opposed effect?
Too much we can respect the fence
Of aptness and expedience.
Why, pledged there, of the sepulchre complain?
Earth shall fling out its flower again.
Creation, life's one satisfaction,
Stumbles first in the abstraction.
Who move not to a goal defined
Will speed as do their next of kin, the blind.
What makes the compromising bosom sure
Hath the ordained investiture.
What here is visioned, fact will prove -
As we put on the means, and move.
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