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Monday, June 11, 2012

The Sluggard

I have always loved reading poetry.  But not all poetry.  It has to be readable, comprehendable and with words that are more or less in the common usage.  I can enjoy difficult-to-understand poetry when I am up for riddles and challenges.  But it is so pleasant to be able to read it and understand it the first time!

I have always been a bit of a slacker (don't believe me? - ask my Mom!).  I think it is the achilles heel of my character.  I once wondered what the seven deadly sins were - and when I found they included slothfulness I was horrified.  Just glad not to be Catholic on that one.  But being Protestant is worse I suppose - because we consider all sin to be deadly.

I realized my weakness of character even when I was younger - and not knowing exactly how best to improve myself (and in my ignorance that perhaps I could - forgetting it is really a work of God in me, with my willing effort aided by His enabling grace) - I was drawn to anything written on the subject.  Seems there wasn't much written on the subject!  I figured I was alone in my struggle.  Who was out there writing stuff about laziness?  Not many.  More was written about workaholism than sluggishness.  Oh well.  I did, however, discover a poem and promptly committed it to memory.  It made complete sense to me.  And I didn't need a dictionary to understand it.  And it was by my favourite poet: Isaac Watts.  (Guess I couldn't go wrong there, huh?)

Here it is for your enjoyment:


    The Sluggard

      from Divine Songs for Children


      'Tis the voice of the sluggard; I heard him complain,
      "You have wak'd me too soon, I must slumber again."
      As the door on its hinges, so he on his bed,
      Turns his sides and his shoulders and his heavy head.

      "A little more sleep, and a little more slumber;"
      Thus he wastes half his days, and his hours without number,
      And when he gets up, he sits folding his hands,
      Or walks about sauntering, or trifling he stands.

      I pass'd by his garden, and saw the wild brier,
      The thorn and the thistle grow broader and higher;
      The clothes that hang on him are turning to rags;
      And his money still wastes till he starves or he begs.

      I made him a visit, still hoping to find
      That he took better care for improving his mind:
      He told me his dreams, talked of eating and drinking;
      But scarce reads his Bible, and never loves thinking.

      Said I then to my heart, "Here's a lesson for me,"
      This man's but a picture of what I might be:
      But thanks to my friends for their care in my breeding,
      Who taught me betimes to love working and reading.

      Isaac Watts


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