“a glorious effort of self-command”

It looks like I’ll be going to a Burn’s Supper this year and that got me looking into why Scots are into him. Poet Laureate of Scotland, holder of the flame of written Scots language, keeper of the soul of Scotland, ok. So I’m looking through his body of work and I come across the “fragment” entitled remorse.

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!

So much here speaks to me. The cadence, the vulnerability, the realness. I see myself in many of these crafted phrases. All at once humble, present and truly touching the “guilt we owe.” I’ve resolved to memorize this.  This calls to me to persevere in my noble efforts.