The Clod and Pebble, defined as “Contrary States of the Human Soul,” portrays two perspectives of love. One from the young, mouldable clod of clay who is selfless in love, kind and innocent. The other is from the hardened, old pebble, who believes love only exists in a selfish way.
It’s compact yet eloquent, with some of the best symbolism of the Romantics. It’s Friday night and it’s optimism in one corner, pessimism in the other.
— — —
“Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair.”
So sung a little Clod of Clay
Trodden with the cattle’s feet,
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet:
“Love seeketh only self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another’s loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heaven’s despite.”