Rudyard Kipling

The Comforters

Until thy feet have trod the Road Advise not wayside folk, Nor till thy back has borne the Load Break in upon the broke. Chase not with undesired largesse Of sympathy the heart Which, knowing her own bitterness, Presumes to dwell apart. Employ not that glad hand to raise The God-forgotten head To Heaven and all the neighbours' gaze-- Cover thy mouth instead. The quivering chin, the bitten lip, The cold and sweating brow, Later may yearn for fellowship-- Not now, you ass, not now! Time, not thy ne'er so timely speech, Life, not thy views thereon, Shall furnish or deny to each His consolation. Or, if impelled to interfere Exhort, uplift, advise, Lend not a base, betraying ear To all the victim's cries. Only the Lord can understand When those first pangs begin, How much is reflex action and How much is really sin. E'en from good words thyself refrain, And tremblingly admit There is no anodyne for pain Except the shock of it. So, when thine own dark hour shall fall, Unchallenged canst thou say: "I never worried you at all, For God's sake go away! "

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