Lo! to the secret shadows I retire, To pay my penance till my years expire.
For this are various penances enjoin’d; And some are hung to bleach upon the wind, Some plung’d in waters, others purg’d in fires, Till all the dregs are drain’d, and all the rust expires.
A hundred years they wander on the shore; At length, their penance done, are wafted o’er."
But, when a thousand rolling years are past, (So long their punishments and penance last,) Whole droves of minds are, by the driving god, Compell’d to drink the deep Lethaean flood, In large forgetful draughts to steep the cares Of their past labors, and their irksome years, That, unrememb’ring of its former pain, The soul may suffer mortal flesh again."
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prayers of penance
A foreign policy of penance was counterproductive.