I ask not how thy suffering came,
Or if by sin, or if by shame,
Or if by Fate’s capricious rulings:
To my large pity all’s the same.
Come close and lean against a heart
Eaten by pain and stung by smart;
It is enough if thou hast suffered,—
Brother or sister then thou art.
We will not speak of what we know,
Rehearse the pang, nor count the throe,
Nor ask what agony admitted
Thee to the Brotherhood of Woe.
But in our anguish-darkened land
Let us draw close, and clasp the hand;
Our whispered password holds assuagement,—
The solemn “Yea, I understand!”