Robert Burns




Remorse

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
By our own folly, or our guilt brought on:
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 torturing, gnawing consciousness of 
         guilt,
Of guilt, perhaps, where we’ve involvéd
         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 tor-
         ments
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!