Stevie Smith

(20 September 1902 – 7 March 1971 / Kingston upon Hull)

Do Not! - Poem by Stevie Smith

Do not despair of man, and do not scold him,
Who are you that you should so lightly hold him?
Are you not also a man, and in your heart
Are there not warlike thoughts and fear and smart?
Are you not also afraid and in fear cruel,
Do you not think of yourself as usual,
Faint for ambition, desire to be loved,
Prick at a virtuous thought by beauty moved?
You love your wife, you hold your children dear,
Then say not that Man is vile, but say they are.
But they are not. So is your judgement shown
Presumptuous, false, quite vain, merely your own
Sadness for failed ambition set outside,
Made a philosophy of, prinked, beautified
In noble dress and into the world sent out
To run with the ill it most pretends to rout.
Oh know your own heart, that heart's not wholly evil,
And from the particular judge the general,
If judge you must, but with compassion see life,
Or else, of yourself despairing, flee strife.

Comments about Do Not! by Stevie Smith

  • (1/15/2018 4:10:00 PM)

    Miss Smith proves a valid point, let not judge upon others or be judged upon yourself, I admit my culpability in this myself, to dismiss a person on some grounds of predisposed judgment is, flawed but oh so human. Miss Smith proves a good writer as well as modern sermon. Read this for myself for future reference. (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Susan Williams (1/15/2018 4:03:00 PM)

    For some reason I fixated on her name and then deduced her poems would be of the light humorous kind.... teach me to make assumptions based on really silly basis. She was definitely able to delve deep into philosophical, spiritual, and human topics! (Report) Reply

  • (1/15/2018 2:59:00 PM)

    It is clear that Stevie Smith thought that love can purify the souls. This poem is a wonderful message.
    In Times Literary Supplement, it was written that
    Smith was able both to compass the pity and terror of her themes and to respond to them with rueful courage''. Voted 10.
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/15/2018 2:59:00 PM)

    People are both good and bad, but the secret of their transformation is held by the love that lives in their hearts. All the people need redemption because, by nature, our human condition involves a sinning process: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3: 23) . The result is death. In her writings, Smith is fascinated by death. Jesus died on the cross in exchange for our life, died to be revived. (Report) Reply

  • (1/15/2018 2:58:00 PM)

    Stevie Smith, more exactly, Florence Margaret was an orphan because her father left the family to join the North Sea Patrol when she was a little girl and her mother died when she was a teenager. Together with her sister, she lived with an aunt. She develops ideas about fear and cruelty because she may have gone through dramatic experiences, but the Church of England which 'is evident in her poetry' makes her understand the essence of the human being. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (1/15/2018 1:53:00 PM)

    So is your judgement! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Anil Kumar Panda (1/15/2018 8:28:00 AM)

    A very nice poem. One should see what is wrong with oneself before blaming others. Enjoyed. (Report) Reply

  • (1/15/2018 2:39:00 AM)

    Judge not in own wise opinion, of what is right and fit lest shall be judged same wise.......outstanding......thanks
    for sharing
    (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (1/15/2018 2:35:00 AM)

    Such a great poem by Stevie Smith👍👍👍 (Report) Reply

  • Sylvia Frances Chan (1/15/2018 2:02:00 AM)

    Most deserving Modern Poem of The Day and we can read how very frank she WAS. Do Not is perhaps a bit
    obsolete but very g\honestly worded. We must read IN-BETWEEN-THE LINES, then we will get a complete portrait of what she really meant. Try to be in her mind, then bet you will regard this as the most deserving Modern Poem. DO NOT if you don't wanna be hurt, is her device. Brilliant!
    (Report) Reply

  • (11/15/2017 11:32:00 AM)

    Wow. She is actually ranting at God at his judgments toward man. She is justifying her sins and hoping to find a loophole....from hell? As most her other poems are about dying and wanting to die? Hmm.... (Report) Reply

  • (5/18/2014 11:59:00 AM)

    Hmmm..a different way of saying judge not, lest you be judged? (Report) Reply

Read all 12 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010

[Report Error]