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CCCCIII

SELF-LOVE

Oh I could go through all life's troubles singing,

Turning earth's night to day,

If self were not so fast around me, clinging

To all I do or say.

My very thoughts are selfish, always building

Mean castles in the air;

I use my love of others for a gilding

To make myself look fair.

I fancy all the world engross'd with judging

My merit or my blame;

Its warmest praise seems an ungracious grudging

Of praise which I might claim.

In youth or age, by city, wood, or mountain,

Self is forgotten never;

Where'er we tread, it gushes like a fountain,

And its waters flow for ever.

Alas! no speed in life can snatch us wholly

Out of self's hateful sight;

And it keeps step, whene'er we travel slowly,

And sleeps with us at night.

O miserable omnipresence, stretching

Over all time and space,

How have I run from thee, yet found thee reaching

The goal in every race!

The opiate balms of grace may haply still thee,

Deep in my nature lying;

For I may hardly hope, alas! to kill thee,

Save by the act of dying.

O LORD! that I could waste my life for others,

With no ends of my own,

That I could pour myself into my brothers,

And live for them alone!

Such was the life Thou livedst; self abjuring,

Thine own pains never easing,

Our burdens bearing, our just doom enduring,

A life without self-pleasing!

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