The Body to the Soul

Respectfully Inscribed to an Overworked Student

Original Text: 
Mrs. Pamelia C. Yule (Pamelia S. Vining), Poems of the Heart and Home (Toronto: Bengough, Moore, 1881): 145-46. Internet Archive
1    O tyrant soul of mine,
2        What's the use
3Of this never-ceasing toil,
4Of this struggle, this turmoil,
5        This abuse
6Of the body and the brain,
7Of this labor and this pain,
8Of this never-ceasing strain
9On the cords that bind us twain
10        Each to each?
11    O tyrant soul of mine,
12        Is it well
13Thus to waste and wear away
14The poor, fragile walls of clay
15        Where you dwell?
16Was I made your slave to be--
17I the abject, you the free,
18That you task me ceaselessly?--
19Tyrant soul, come, answer me,
20    Is it well?
21    O tyrant soul of mine,
22        Don't you know
23That in slow, but sure decay,
24I am wasting day by day,
25        While you grow
26None the better for the strain
27On my nerves and on my brain,
28For my head's incessant pain,
29And my sick heart's longings vain
30        For repose?
31    O tyrant soul of mine,
32        God, the good,
33Joined together you and me
34In a wondrous unity,
35        That we should
36Work together,--not that I,
37You degrade and stupefy,
38Nor that you His laws defy
39By maltreating ceaselessly
40        Hapless me!
41    O tyrant soul of mine,
42        By and by,
43Weary of your cruel reign,
44Quite worn out with toil and pain,
45        I shall die!
46Then, when I have passed away,
47And you're asked whose hand did slay
48Your companion of the clay,
49Much I wonder what you'll say,
50        Soul of mine!
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2011
Rhyme: