Eleanor Farjeon

Sonnets. 1. Man Cannot Be a Sophist to His Heart

Man cannot be a sophist to his heart,
He must look nakedly on his intent,
Expose it of all shreds of argument,
And strip it like a slave-girl in the mart.
What though with speckled truths and masked confessions
He still deceives awhile the outer sense?
At barely half his honesty’s expense
Still earns the world’s excuse for the world’s transgressions?

His conscience cannot play the marshland elf,
Confusing that poor midnight wanderer,
His soul, with floundering lights and errant gleams.
O what damnation man would deal himself
If meeting her beyond his uttermost dreams
He still could face his soul and lie to her.

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