I have been lonely all my days on earth,
Living a life within my secret soul,
With mine own springs of sorrow and of mirth,
Beyond the world's control.
Though sometimes with vain longing I have sought
To walk the paths where other mortals tread,
To wear the clothes for other mortals wrought,
And eat the selfsame bread -
Yet have I ever found, when thus I strove
To mould my life upon the common plan,
That I was furthest from all truth and love,
And least a living man.
Truth frowned upon my poor hypocrisy,
Life left my soul, and dwelt but in my sense;
No man could love me, for all men could see
The hollow vain pretence.
Their clothes sat on me with outlandish air,
Upon their easy road I tripped and fell,
And still I sickened of the wholesome fare
On which they nourished well.
I was a stranger in that company,
A Galilean whom his speech bewrayed,
And when they lifted up their songs of glee,
My voice sad discord made.
Peace for mine own self I could never find,
And still my presence marred the general peace,
And when I parted, leaving them behind,
They felt, and I, release.
So will I follow now my spirit's bent,
Not scorning those who walk the beaten track,
Yet not despising mine own banishment,
Nor often looking back.
Their way is best for them, but mine for me.
And there is comfort for my lonely heart,
To think perhaps our journeys' ends may be
Not very far apart.