written in 1784
Of all the numerous ills that hurt our peace; That press the soul, or wring the mind with anguish; Beyond comparison the worst are those That to our Folly, or our Guilt we owe. In ev'ry other circumstance, the mind Has this to say, It was no deed of mine: But, when to all the evil of misfortune This sting is added, blame thy foolish self; Or worser far, the pangs of keen remorse: The tort'ring, gnawing consciousness of guilt Of guilt, perhaps, where we've involved others; The young, the innocent, who fondly lov'd us: Nay more, that very love their cause of ruin O! burning Hell! in all thy store of torments There's not a keener LASH Lives there a man so firm who, while his heart Feels all the bitter horrors of his crime, Can reason down its agonizing throbs, And, after proper purpose of amendment, Can firmly force his jarring thoughts to peace? O happy, happy, enviable man! O glorious magnanimity of soul!