Say, Disappointment, crippler of conceit
And dire companion to a pauper’s dole
(For poor they count themselves who lack control
Of but one thing, if this their longing cheat),
Would’st thou, dark shade, alone our hopes defeat?
Hast thou none other end — no higher goal?
Indeed thou hast; for ’neath thy sable stole
Are treasures rare, to give on thy retreat —
The gold of charity, the gift of love
(Thou bearest that, which this in turn begets);
And, gaining this one gift all gifts above,
Well might we thank thee, we who scorn our debts.
O for a keener vision to descry
The kindly beam in Disappointment’s eye!
William Blocksidge, Songs o’ the South, London: Watts, 1908, p. 51
beget = to father a child, to bring a child into existence as a parent (especially as a father); to create, cause, produce
descry = to see something, especially something difficult to detect (e.g. they descried a small scar on his body)
end = goal, aim, purpose, target, a targetted outcome; can also refer to: the last part or terminal point of something (such as the end of an activity, length of a physical item, story, time period); cease, terminate; death (e.g. met his end in an accident)
hast = (archaic) have
’neath = (vernacular) beneath
sable = a colour that is black, dark, or gloomy (“sables” was an archaic term for garments worn for mourning; “sable” in heraldry refers to black); arising from the colour of dark sable fur, as taken from a sable (a furry mammal, Martes zibellina, which is primarily found in Russia and northern East Asia, and noted for its fur which has traditionally been used for clothing); in the context of the Australian Aborigines or African Negroes, a reference to their skin colour as being black
shade = ghost, phantom; disembodied spirit
stole = a long scarf, especially one made of fur; shawl; vestment
thee = (archaic) you
thou = (archaic) you
thy = (archaic) your
would’st = would (past tense of “will”) (also spelt: wou’dst, wouldst)