John Boyle O'Reilly

(28 June 1844 - 10 August 1890 / Dowth Castle, County Meath)

Wheat Grains - Poem by John Boyle O'Reilly

AS grains from chaff, I sift these worldly rules,
Kernels of wisdom, from the husks of schools:

Benevolence befits the wisest mind;
But he who has not studied to be kind,
Who grants for asking, gives without a rule,
Hurts whom he helps, and proves himself a fool.

The wise man is sincere: but he who tries
To be sincere, hap-hazard, is not wise.

Knowledge is gold to him who can discern
That he who loves to know, must love to learn.

Straightforward speech is very certain good;
But he who has not learned its rule is rude.

Boldness and firmness, these are virtues each,
Noble in action, excellent in speech.
But who is bold, without considerate skill,
Rashly rebels, and has no law but will;
While he called firm, illiterate and crass,
With mulish stubbornness obstructs the pass.

The mean of soul are sure their faults to gloss,
And find a secret gain in others' loss.

Applause the bold man wins, respect the grave;
Some, only being not modest, think they're brave.

The petty wrong-doer may escape unseen;
But what from sight the moon eclipsed shall screen?
Superior minds must err in sight of men,
Their eclipse o'er, they rule the world again.

Temptation waits for all, and ills will come;
But some go out and ask the devil home.

'I love God,' said the saint. God spake above:
'Who loveth me must love those whom I love.'
'I scourge myself,' the hermit cried. God spake:
'Kindness is prayer; but not a self-made ache:'

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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 21, 2012

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