Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Confession
By George Herbert (1593–1633)
 
    NO screw, no piercer can
Into a piece of timber worke and winde,
    As God’s afflictions into man,
    When he a torture hath designed.
They are too subtle for the subtlest hearts;        5
And fall, like rheumes, upon the tenderest parts.
 
    We are the earth; and they,
Like moles within us, heave, and cast about:
    And till they foot and clutch their prey,
    They never cool, much less give out.        10
No smith can make such locks, but they have keys;
Closets are halls to them; and hearts, high-ways.
 
    Only an open breast
Doth shut them out, so that they cannot enter;
    Or, if they enter, cannot rest,        15
    But quickly seek some new adventure.
Smooth open hearts no fastening have; but fiction
Doth give a hold and handle to affliction.
 
 
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