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Frances Ridley Havergal | Compensation

Life all hangs in the balance
(Photo credit: Bella_189)

Oh, the compensating springs! Oh, the balance-wheels of life,
Hidden away in the workings under the seeming strife!
Slowing the fret and the friction, weighting the whirl and the force,
Evolving the truest power from each unconscious source.

How shall we gauge the whole, who can only guess a part?
How can we read the life, when we cannot spell the heart?
How shall we measure another, we who can never know
From the juttings above the surface the depth of the vein below?

Even our present way is known to ourselves alone,
Height and abyss and torrent, flower and thorn and stone;
But we gaze on another’s path as a far-off mountain scene,
Scanning the outlined hills, but never the vales between.

How shall we judge their present, we who have never seen
That which is past for ever, and that which might have been?
Measuring by ourselves, unwise indeed are we,
Measuring what we know by what we can hardly see.

Ah! if we knew it all, we should surely understand
That the balance of sorrow and joy is held with an even hand;
That the scale of success or loss shall never overflow,
And that compensation is twined with the lot of high and low.

The easy path in the lowland hath little of grand or new,
But a toilsome ascent leads on to a wide and glorious view;
Peopled and warm is the valley, lonely and chill the height,
But the peak that is nearer the storm-cloud is nearer the stars of light.

Launch on the foaming stream that bears you along like a dart, —
There is danger of rapid and rock, there is tension of muscle and heart;
Glide on the easy current, monotonous, calm, and slow,
You are spared the quiver and strain in the safe and quiet flow.

Oh, the sweetness that dwells in a harp of many strings,
While each, all vocal with love, in tuneful harmony rings!
But oh, the wail and the discord, when one and another is rent,
Tensionless, broken, or lost, from the cherished instrument.

For rapture of love is linked with the pain or fear of loss,
And the hand that takes the crown must ache with many a cross;
Yet he who hath never a conflict hath never a victor’s palm,
And only the toilers know the sweetness of rest and calm.

Only between the storms can the Alpine traveler know
Transcendent glory of clearness, marvels of gleam and glow;
Had he the brightness unbroken of cloudless summer days,
This had been dimmed by the dust and the veil of a brooding haze.

Who would dare the choice, neither or both to know,
The finest quiver of joy or the agony-thrill of woe?
Never the exquisite pain, then never the exquisite bliss,
For the heart that is dull to that can never be strung to this.

Great is the peril or toil if the glory or gain be great;
Never an earthly gift without responsible weight;
Never a treasure without-a following shade of care;
Never a power without the lurk of a subtle snare.

For the swift is not the safe, and the sweet is not the strong;
The smooth is not the short, and the keen is not the long;
The much is not the most, and the wide is not the deep;
And the flow is never a spring, when the ebb is only neap.

Then hush! oh, hush! for the Father knows what thou knowest not,
The need and the thorn and the shadow linked with the fairest lot;
Knows the wisest exemption from many an unseen snare,
Knows what will keep thee nearest, knows what thou could’st not bear.

Hush! oh, hush! for the Father portioneth as he will
To all his beloved children, and shall they not be still?
Is not his will the wisest, is not his choice the best?
And in perfect acquiescence is there not perfect rest?

Hush! oh, hush! for the Father, whose ways are true and just,
Knoweth and careth and loveth, and waits for thy perfect trust;
The cup he is slowly filling shall soon be full to the brim,
And infinite compensations forever be found in him.

Hush, oh, hush! for the Father hath fullness of joy in store,
Treasures of power and wisdom, and pleasures for ever­ more;
Blessing and honor and glory, endless, infinite bliss; —
Child of his love and his choice, oh, cant thou not wait for this?

– Frances Ridley Havergal

The Poems and Hymns of Christ’s Sweet Singer: Frances Ridley Havergal

t.s. eliot–the hollow men


We are the Hollow men ...
(Photo credit: wonderferret)

The Hollow Men
Mistah Kurtz-he dead
A penny for the Old Guy


We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death’s dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind’s singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death’s dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death’s other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death’s twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.


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e.e. cummings–i carry your heart

I carry your heart
I carry your heart (Photo credit: swann&smerlin)
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
e. e. cummings

PYRRHUS • Warrior King

Pyrrhus of Epirus
Pyrrhus of Epirus (Photo credit: diffendale)

Pyrrhus inherited the throne of Epirus in Northern Greece around 306 B.C.E., and as a young man proved himself on the battlefield again and again. Pyrrhus apparently had great strategic skills, but he also had the reputation of not knowing when to stop. In 281 he went to Italy and defeated the Romans at Heraclea and Asculum, but suffered bitterly heavy losses. The devastation led to his famous statement, “One more such victory and I am lost” — hence the term “Pyrrhic victory” for any victory so costly as to be ruinous. [via]

My question is, what isn’t a pyrrhic victory? For everything we gain in life –and don’t get me wrong, we gain a lot more than we deserve– there is also, always loss. Loss is a universal experience. Whether it’s losing a loved one, a battle, a game, your money, your keys, your mind, or most irreplaceable of all, time, we lose. And on that note, read on for extra credit…