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William Wordsworth
Complete Poetical Works

ECCLESIASTICAL SONNETS

PART II

TO THE CLOSE OF THE TROUBLES IN THE REIGN OF CHARLES I

I

HOW soon--alas! did Man, created pure--
By Angels guarded, deviate from the line
Prescribed to duty:--woeful forfeiture
He made by wilful breach of law divine.
With like perverseness did the Church abjure
Obedience to her Lord, and haste to twine,
'Mid Heaven-born flowers that shall for aye endure,
Weeds on whose front the world had fixed her sign.
O Man,--if with thy trials thus it fares,
If good can smooth the way to evil choice,
From all rash censure be the mind kept free;
He only judges right who weighs, compares,
And in the sternest sentence which his voice
Pronounces, ne'er abandons Charity.