The Great Minimum
Chesterton, G. K. The Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton. London: Methuen, 1933: 132-133.
1It is something to have wept as we have wept,
2It is something to have done as we have done,
3It is something to have watched when all men slept,
4And seen the stars which never see the sun.
5It is something to have smelt the mystic rose,
6Although it break and leave the thorny rods,
7It is something to have hungered once as those
8Must hunger who have ate the bread of gods.
9To have seen you and your unforgotten face,
10Brave as a blast of trumpets for the fray,
11Pure as white lilies in a watery space,
12It were something, though you went from me to-day.
13To have known the things that from the weak are furled,
14Perilous ancient passions, strange and high;
15It is something to be wiser than the world,
16It is something to be older than the sky.
17In a time of sceptic moths and cynic rusts,
18And fatted lives that of their sweetness tire,
19In a world of flying loves and fading lusts,
20It is something to be sure of a desire.
21Lo, blessed are our ears for they have heard;
22Yea, blessed are our eyes for they have seen;
23Let thunder break on man and beast and bird
24And the lightning. It is something to have been.
Publication Start Year:
Poems. New York, N.Y.: John Lane, 1915.
RPO poem Editors:
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh