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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Poems. I. “What, many times I musing asked”

Richard Chenevix Trench (1807–1886)

WHAT, many times I musing asked, is man,

If grief and care

Keep far from him? he knows not what he can,

What cannot bear.

He, till the fire had proved him, doth remain

The main part dross:

To lack the loving discipline of pain

Were endless loss.

Yet when my Lord did ask me on what side

I were content

The grief, whereby I must be purified,

To me were sent,

As each imagined anguish did appear,

Each withering bliss,

Before my soul, I cried, “Oh! spare me here,

Oh no, not this!”—

Like one that having need of, deep within,

The surgeon’s knife,

Would hardly bear that it should graze the skin,

Though for his life.

Till He at last, who best doth understand

Both what we need,

And what can bear, did take my case in hand,

Nor crying heed.