Till my Love Loves Burningly

Lo, Lord, thou know’st, I would not anything

That in the heart of God holds not its root;

Nor falsely deem there is any life at all

That doth in him nor sleep nor shine nor sing;

I know the plants that bear the noisome fruit

Of burning and of ashes and of gall—

From God’s heart torn, rootless to man’s they cling.

Life-giving love rots to devouring fire;

Justice corrupts to despicable revenge;

Motherhood chokes in the dam’s jealous mire;

Hunger for growth turns fluctuating change;

Love’s anger grand grows spiteful human wrath,

Hunting men out of conscience’ holy path;

And human kindness takes the tattler’s range.

Nothing can draw the heart of man but good;

Low good it is that draws him from the higher—

So evil—poison uncreate from food.

Never a foul thing, with temptation dire,

Tempts hellward force created to aspire,

But walks in wronged strength of imprisoned Truth,

Whose mantle also oft the Shame indu’th.
Love in the prime not yet I understand—
Scarce know the love that loveth at first hand:

Help me my selfishness to scatter and scout;

Blow on me till my love loves burningly;

Then the great love will burn the mean self out,

And I, in glorious simplicity,

Living by love, shall love unspeakably.

—George MacDonald


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