Refusal To Cast The First Stone

If in the sin you now confess
There was one tithe of tenderness;

If some sweet charity lay hid
Between your purpose and what you did;

If in this sad iniquity
Childlike you were, or sisterly,

Caught by some subtlety of chance,
Victim of merciless circumstance;

If Jesus may plead at the Judgment Seat:
You were less wicked than indiscreet,

Compassing more than your heart intended;
If you were lonely or undefended;

If one small rampart of your will
Fought against Hell and resisted still,

And one white atom of your soul
Was left unsullied and clean and whole: —

Over that atom, you understand,
I lift up no absolving hand.

From Boundaries