Limits and Renewals

Hymn to Physical Pain

(Mr. C. R. Wilkett’s version)

Rudyard Kipling

DREAD Mother of Forgetfulness
    Who, when Thy reign begins,
Wipest away the Soul’s distress,
    And memory of her sins.

The trusty Worm that dieth not—
    The steadfast Fire also,
By Thy contrivance are forgot
    In a completer woe.

Thine are the lidless eyes of night
    That stare upon our tears,
Through certain hours which in our sight
    Exceed a thousand years:

Thine is the thickness of the Dark
    That presses in our pain,
As Thine the Dawn that bids us mark
    Life’s grinning face again.

Thine is the weariness outworn
    No promise shall relieve
That says at eve, ‘Would God ’t were morn!’
    At morn, ‘Would God ’t were eve!’

Ad when Thy tender mercies cease
    And life unvexed is due,
Instant upon the false release
    The Worm and Fire renew.

Wherefore we praise Thee in the deep,
    And on our beds we pray
For Thy return that Thou may’st keep
    The Pains of Hell at bay!

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