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Poem by John Townsend Trowbridge


THISTLE and serpent we exterminate,
Yet blame them not; and righteously abhor
The crimes of men with all their kind at war,
Whom we may stay or slay, but not in hate.
By blood and brain we are predestinate
Each to his course; and unawares therefor
The heart's blind wish and inmost counselor
Makes times and tides; for man is his own fate.
Nativity is horoscope and star!
One innocent egg incloses song and wings;
One, deadly fangs and rattles set to warn.
Our days, our deeds, all we achieve or are,
Lay folded in our infancy; the things
Of good or ill we choose while yet unborn.

John Townsend Trowbridge

John Townsend Trowbridge's other poems:
  1. Menotomy Lake
  2. The Old Burying-Ground
  3. Dorothy in the Garret
  4. An Idyl of Harvest Time
  5. Recollections of Lalla Rookh

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • John Donne Nativity ("Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb")

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