Behold the Court of Penance. Four gaunt walls
Shutting out all things but the upper heaven.
Stone flags for floor, where daily from their stalls
The human cattle in a circle driven
Tread down their pathway to a mire uneven,
Pale–faced, sad–eyed, and mute as funerals.
Woe to the wretch whose weakness unforgiven
Falters a moment in the track or falls!
Yet is there consolation. Overhead
The pigeons build and the loud jackdaws talk,
And once in the wind’s eye, like a ship moored,
A sea–gull flew and I was comforted.
Even here the heavens declare thy glory, Lord,
And the free firmament thy handiwork.