[Editor: This poem by Agnes Neale was published in Shadows and Sunbeams (1890).]
Some Grief Has Touched.
Some grief has touched you, yet I know not how
To reach the hidden sorrow of your heart;
How can I help you, knowing but in part
The inner cause of that which clouds your brow?
Yet I would fain lay on the hurt a touch
Of gentle sympathy, of tender thought;
I know with how much power a. touch is fraught.
Perhaps I ask, in friendship’s name, too much?
Can you not trust me in so slight a thing?
Know you the worth of friendship here below?
Its utmost value none can ever know;
Its balm will draw from pain its keenest sting.
But this we know: God never gave to man
A truer blessing from the stores above —
The soul of sympathy, love’s inner love —
So let me do for you what friendship can.
And dare I speak of that far better friend,
Whose love beyond all bound, all measure is;
Who fathomed life through sorrow’s black abyss,
So that his sympathy might reach the end —
The very end, the last sad son of time;
And touch, with that same touch which on that day
He touched the grave of Lazarus, where he lay,
And brought him back to life and manhood’s prime?
And yet He wept, though knowing well the end.
The sisters’ agony of hope and fears
Brought to His eyes the sympathetic tears
So we may grieve for others’ grief, my friend.
By that dear touch of human sympathy
We feel our inmost souls drawn out to Him;
The deep wells of our hearts fill to the brim
For Him who wept to see a mortal die.
He knows all sorrow; every human woe,
All our temptations have been felt by Him;
His eyes with tears of anguish have been dim;
He knows our griefs, as He alone can know.
So if I may not know the pain that lies
So heavily about you, take it there
To Him, who fain would all your sorrow share;
Lay it before the Christ’s all-loving eyes.
Agnes Neale, Shadows and Sunbeams, Adelaide: Burden & Bonython, 1890, pages 44-45
fain = happily or gladly; ready or willing; obliged or compelled
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