Conscience | Susannah Frances Reynolds

By Mrs Susannah Frances Reynolds

There be not deeds alone to cause us care –

A word may also fill us with despair:

The crimes of men against us never bring

Such pangs, as Conscience’ inward whispering,

That, faithful as the planets to the sun,

Praises or blames us when a deed is done! –

Mankind may hate – revile – abuse – despise –

We scarce deplore such loss of sympathies:

And if we do, ‘tis but with pity fraught;

Half pity – half contempt we give again,

Nor feel their scorn to cause the slightest pain.

But when our secret monitor within

Warns us of guilt, and tortures for our sins,

How do we mark our conscious bosom thrill

With care and sorrow for the latent ill;

How do we curse the hour in which we roved

Amid the paths th’ Almighty ne’er approved!

Oh! let us love each virtue that can raise

Mankind to emulate those early days,

When first, in paradise, the primal pair

Were pure as angels, taintless and as fair,

Till, by the evil one beguil’d to sin,

Their forms were alter’d as their minds within!

Original citation: Mrs. Reynolds, “Conscience” The Teetotaler, 5 December 1840, Vol. 1. No. 24, p. 188. [Transcribed by Stephen Basdeo and Jessica Elizabeth Thomas]