On A Figure Of Justice With Bound Eyes


Unhappy goddess! Has then envious earth
Denied thine eyes the radiance of thy birth?
Have mortals, that still need thy voice to school
Their wrangling lives, their daily feuds to rule,
That thou might’st judge with stern and equal mind,
Swayed by no fear or favour, made thee blind?
Immortal, yet with bound and vacant eye,
How sad an emblem of humanity!
Thou bearest the poised scales, the uplifted sword,
Dealing to each his sentence and award.
Infinite acts in tedious array,
Their petty quarrels, at thy feet they lay.
Thou hearest: and dost thou require no more,
No subtler knowledge, no profounder lore?
Hast thou searched out the individual heart?
Or deem’st thou each its fellow’s counterpart?
Ah, what wronged mind might not those eyes have read,
With light and with compassion visited,
Let the soiled page of obscure lots unroll,
Nor from deeds judged, but from the striving soul!

Teased by such strife, and yet, ‘mid all its din,
Conscious and proud of heavenly rays within,
Know’st thou no hour when thy long labours seem
Fruitless as foolish, a preposterous dream!
When some imperious impulse bids thee scorn
The bonds of use, no longer to be borne,
And with indignant tears at tasks so vain,
Dash down thy scales, and snap thy sword in twain;
Leave man to end his wrongs from his own store
Of wisdom, and revisit earth no more?

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