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    Remorse - A Fragment

    by Robert Burns
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    ["I entirely agree," says Burns, "with the author of the _Theory of
    Moral Sentiments_, that Remorse is the most painful sentiment that can
    embitter the human bosom; an ordinary pitch of fortitude may bear up
    admirably well, under those calamities, in the procurement of which we
    ourselves have had no hand; but when our follies or crimes have made
    us wretched, to bear all with manly firmness, and at the same time
    have a proper penitential sense of our misconduct, is a glorious
    effort of self-command."]

    Of all the numerous ills that hurt our peace,
    That press the soul, or wring the mind with anguish,
    Beyond comparison the worst are those
    That to our folly or our guilt we owe.
    In every other circumstance, the mind
    Has this to say, 'It was no deed of mine;'
    But when to all the evil of misfortune
    This sting is added--'Blame thy foolish self!'
    Or worser far, the pangs of keen remorse;
    The torturing, gnawing consciousness of guilt,--
    Of guilt, perhaps, where we've involved others;
    The young, the innocent, who fondly lov'd us,
    Nay, more, that very love their cause of ruin!
    O burning hell! in all thy store of torments,
    There's not a keener lash!
    Lives there a man so firm, who, while his heart
    Feels all the bitter horrors of his crime,
    Can reason down its agonizing throbs;
    And, after proper purpose of amendment,
    Can firmly force his jarring thoughts to peace?
    O, happy! happy! enviable man!
    O glorious magnanimity of soul!
    If you're writing a Remorse - A Fragment essay and need some advice, post your Robert Burns essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

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