Not Understood

Not understood, we move along asunder;
   Our paths grow wider as the seasons creep
Along the years; we marvel and we wonder
   Why life is life, and then we fall asleep
   Not understood.

Not understood, we gather false impressions
   And hug them closer as the years go by;
Till virtues often seem to us transgressions;
   And thus men rise and fall, and live and die
   Not understood.

Not understood! Poor souls with stunted vision
   Oft measure giants with their narrow gauge;
The poisoned shafts of falsehood and derision
   Are oft impelled 'gainst those who mould the age,
   Not understood.

Not understood! The secret springs of action
   Which lie beneath the surface and the show,
Are disregarded; with self-satisfaction
   We judge our neighbours, and they often go
   Not understood.

Not understood! How trifles often change us!
   The thoughtless sentence and the fancied slight
Destroy long years of friendship, and estrange us,
   And on our souls there falls a freezing blight;
   Not understood.

Not understood! How many breasts are aching
   For lack of sympathy! Ah! day by day
How many cheerless, lonely hearts are breaking!
   How many noble spirits pass away,
   Not understood.

O God! that men would see a little clearer,
   Or judge less harshly where they cannot see!
O God! that men would draw a little nearer
   To one another, -- they'd be nearer Thee,
   And understood.

by James Brunton Stephens

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