Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Fool (Author: Pádraic H. Pearse)


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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.

  5. p.336

  6. 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
  7. 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?