Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Unforgivable Sin

by G.K. Chesterton

I do not cry, beloved, neither curse.
Silence and strength, these two at least are good.
He gave me sun and stars and aught He could,
But not a woman's love; for that is hers.

He sealed her heart from sage and questioner—
Yea, with seven seals, as he has sealed the grave.
And if she give it to a drunken slave,
The Day of Judgment shall not challenge her.

Only this much: if one, deserving well,
Touching your thin young hands and making suit,
Feel not himself a crawling thing, a brute,
Buried and bricked in a forgotten hell;

Prophet and poet be he over sod,
Prince among angels in the highest place,
God help me, I will smite him on the face,
Before the glory of the face of God.

* * *

I like to think of this as the thoughts of a father toward his daughter-- but I know the Chestertons hadn't any children. I wonder if he wrote this to a specific young lady he knew, or whether it was just his general sentiments.

I do know that Chesterton was a great gentleman. He had an enormous respect for women, although he often repeated that he didn't understand us. He carried around a sword-stick to defend ladies with, in case the situation ever required it. "Nor ever failed I to believe / The honour of the house of Eve." Yes, this is one poet who actually lived in his life what he wrote about.

Thank you, God, for Chesterton!

1 comment:

David Smedberg said...

Wow, I love that poem!