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Henry Charles Beeching, ed. (1859–1919). Lyra Sacra: A Book of Religious Verse. 1903.

By Coventry Patmore (1823–1896)

“Let be!”

AH, yes; we tell the good and evil trees
By fruits: But how tell these?
Who does not know
That good and ill
Are done in secret still,        5
And that which shows is verily but show!
How high of heart is one, and one how sweet of mood;
But not all height is holiness,
Nor every sweetness good;
And grace will sometimes lurk where who could guess?        10
The Critic of his kind
Dealing to each his share,
With easy humour, hard to bear,
May not impossibly have in him shrined
As in a gossamer globe, or thickly-padded pod,        15
Some small seed dear to God.
Haply yon wretch, so famous for his falls,
Got them beneath the devil-defended walls
Of some high virtue he had vow’d to win;
And that which you and I        20
Call his besetting sin
Is but the fume of his peculiar fire
Of inmost contrary desire,
And means wild willingness for her to die,
Dash’d with despondence of her favour sweet;        25
He fiercer fighting, in his worst defeat,
Than I or you,
That only courteous greet
Where he does hotly woo,
Did ever fight, in our best victory.        30
Another is mistook
Through his deceitful likeness to his look!
Let be, let be;
Why should I clear myself, why answer thou for me?
That shaft of slander shot        35
Miss’d only the right blot.
I see the shame
They cannot see:
’Tis very just they blame
The thing that’s not.        40