Thy Brother’s Blood

By Jones Very 1813–1880 Jones Very
I have no Brother,—they who meet me now
Offer a hand with their own wills defiled,
And, while they wear a smooth unwrinkled brow,
Know not that Truth can never be beguiled;
Go wash the hand that still betrays thy guilt;
Before the spirit’s gaze what stain can hide?
Abel’s red blood upon the earth is spilt,
And by thy tongue it cannot be denied;
I hear not with my ear,—the heart doth tell
Its secret deeds to me untold before;
Go, all its hidden plunder quickly sell,
Then shalt thou cleanse thee from thy brother’s gore,
Then will I take thy gift; that bloody stain
Shall not be seen upon thy hand again.

Source: Poets of the English Language (Viking Press, 1950)

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Poet Jones Very 1813–1880

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Religion, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Jones  Very


Though Jones Very was a minor figure in Transcendentalist circles, his poetry and criticism were highly regarded by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, and the pioneering educator Elizabeth Palmer Peabody. His close study of Shakespeare led him to write almost exclusively in Shakespearian sonnets, and his sequences on religion and nature gained recognition for their graceful lyricism. However, Very’s intense religious devotion . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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