Richard Chenebix Trench

(1807-1886 / Ireland)

The World - Poem by Richard Chenebix Trench

'O Beauteous world! what features fair
Thine needs would show beyond compare,
If it were possible to find
Thy glories all in one combined!
Show me, O Lord, the world -- the bright
Fair world reveal unto my sight.'

This prayer the youth had made, whose way
Soon after through the desert lay,
Where he far off a woman spied,
Wandering, by none accompanied.
'Who art thou?' he exclaimed.--'In me
See her whom thou hast longed to see.'
--'What meanest thou?' More plain reply
This time she made--'The world am I.'
--'Then let me see thy countenance fair,
Which doth so many hearts ensnare.'
She from her face the veil withdrew,
And straight the hidden was in view,
A visage painted all and bleared,
Where signs of lust and hate appeared:
One bloody hand she raised on high,
Crooked was the other and awry.
'How? what is this?' he shuddering
Exclaimed--'Who art thou, loathsome thing?'
'I with this bloody hand,' she said,
'Do ever strike my lovers dead:
The other hand its shape has won
With beckoning yet more lovers on;
Those ever hurl I forth with might,
And these with flatteries I invite.
Even I admire, while thus I show,
I never lack of lovers know.'
--'But tell me yet, how this may be,
That when such thousands wait on thee
Already, thou dost ever seek
More lovers still?' She then did speak:
'Though these are thousands, never yet
A man among them have I met;
Who rightly bear of man the name,
My company avoid like shame;
And thus remain I desolate,
Even while on me such thousands wait.'

My brother, let her answer be
Deep graven on thy memory:
A man, my brother, wouldst thou prove,
Far keep thee from this woman's love.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, September 20, 2010

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