Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Fool (Author: Pádraic H. Pearse)
- 1] Since the wise men have not spoken, I speak that am only a fool;
2] A fool that hath loved his folly,
3] Yea, more than the wise men their books or their counting houses or their quiet homes,
4] Or their fame in men's mouths;
5] A fool that in all his days hath done never a prudent thing,
6] Never hath counted the cost, nor recked if another reaped
7] The fruit of his mighty sowing, content to scatter the seed;
8] A fool that is unrepentant, and that soon at the end of all
9] Shall laugh in his lonely heart as the ripe ears fall to the reaping-hooks
10] And the poor are filled that were empty,
11] Tho' he go hungry.
- 12] I have squandered the splendid years that the Lord God gave to my youth
13] In attempting impossible things, deeming them alone worth the toil.
14] Was it folly or grace? Not men shall judge me, but God.
- 15] I have squandered the splendid years:
16] Lord, if I had the years I would squander them over again,
17] Aye, fling them from me !
18] For this I have heard in my heart, that a man shall scatter, not hoard,
19] Shall do the deed of to-day, nor take thought of to-morrow's teen,
20] Shall not bargain or huxter with God ; or was it a jest of Christ's
21] And is this my sin before men, to have taken Him at His word?
- 22] The lawyers have sat in council, the men with the keen, long faces,
23] And said, This man is a fool, and others have said, He blasphemeth;
24] And the wise have pitied the fool that hath striven to give a life
25] In the world of time and space among the bulks of actual things,
26] To a dream that was dreamed in the heart, and that only the heart could hold.
- 27] O wise men, riddle me this: what if the dream come true?
28] What if the dream come true? and if millions unborn shall dwell
29] In the house that I shaped in my heart, the noble house of my thought?
30] Lord, I have staked my soul, I have staked the lives of my kin
31] On the truth of Thy dreadful word. Do not remember my failures,
32] But remember this my faith
- 33] And so I speak.
34] Yea, ere my hot youth pass, I speak to my people and say:
35] Ye shall be foolish as I; ye shall scatter, not save;
36] Ye shall venture your all, lest ye lose what is more than all;
37] Ye shall call for a miracle, taking Christ at His word.
38] And for this I will answer, O people, answer here and hereafter,
39] O people that I have loved, shall we not answer together?