by Alice Meynell
“A Paltry Sacrifice”—Preface to a Play
Oh, man’s capacity
For spiritual sorrow, corporal pain!
Who has explored the deepmost of that sea,
With heavy links of a far-fathoming chain?
That melancholy lead,
Let down in guilty and in innocent hold,
Yea into childish hands deliverèd,
Leaves the sequestered floor unreached, untold.
One only has explored
The deepmost; but He did not die of it.
Not yet, not yet He died. Man’s human Lord
Touched the extreme; it is not infinite.
But over the abyss
Of God’s capacity for woe He stayed
One hesitating hour; what gulf was this?
Forsaken He went down, and was afraid.