The heart knows his own bitterness; and a stranger does not intermeddle with his joy.
I. OF UNREVEALED AND NEGLECTED SORROWS, A LARGE PROPORTION ARISES FROM A STRONG, NATURAL PROPENSITY TO DEJECTION AND MELANCHOLY. As wounds which are occasioned by external violence are more conspicuous, but less dangerous, than the hidden disease which preys upon the vital parts. Some whose circumstances are prosperous are always in the glooms, their feeble mind spreads its malignant tincture over every surrounding prospect. Spectators form their opinions from exterior circumstances, hence they cannot give their sympathy where they cannot observe sufficient cause of misery. Were they ever so much disposed to give it this miserable man would have none of their comfort.
II. THERE IS A CLASS OF MEN WHO MIGHT SUCCEED BETTER IN PROCURING THE SYMPATHY OF THE WORLD COULD THEY BUT TELL THE CAUSE OF THEIR SORROW. Disappointments in a long train have fallen upon the man's head, and the manliness of his spirit is subdued, and he surrenders himself a willing subject to peevishness and despair. Ambition defeated may fret and chagrin the aspiring mind. Affection slighted gives a deep and incurable wound to the man of a feeling heart.
III. THE MAN WHO SECRETLY GRIEVES FOR THE TREACHERY OF A FRIEND HAS EVEN A MORE SERIOUS CLAIM UPON OUR SYMPATHY. Such a man is sure to say, "My bitterness shall be known only to my own heart."
IV. DOMESTIC SOURCES OF DISQUETUDE. These, from motives of delicacy, are secreted from the notice and sympathy of the world.
V. CASES OF PERSONS WHO HAVE CHANGED THEIR STATION IN LIFE, AND CANNOT FIT TO THEIR NEW CONDITIONS. As in imperfectly assorted marriages. What misery is experienced which must be kept in reserve.
VI. THE MAN WHO CARRIES GRIEF IN HIS BOSOM ON ACCOUNT OF CONSCIOUS IMPERFECTION AND INCONSISTENCY OF CHARACTER. He has often resolved upon reformation, made strenuous efforts against temptations, but has failed and relapsed again under the bondage of sin. This has occasioned miserable agitation and perplexity of soul. He mourns in secret that he is not such as his own resolutions prescribe, and the world around him believes him to be. To all earnest persons it is a matter of deep concern to find that a great proportion of secret sorrow falls to the share of those who are most useful, and deserve best from society.
(T. Somerville, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.
WEB: The heart knows its own bitterness and joy; he will not share these with a stranger.