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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892). The Poetical Works in Four Volumes. 1892.

Narrative and Legendary Poems


AS Islam’s Prophet, when his last day drew

Nigh to its close, besought all men to say

Whom he had wronged, to whom he then should pay

A debt forgotten, or for pardon sue,

And, through the silence of his weeping friends,

A strange voice cried: “Thou owest me a debt,”

“Allah be praised!” he answered. “Even yet

He gives me power to make to thee amends.

O friend! I thank thee for thy timely word.”

So runs the tale. Its lesson all may heed,

For all have sinned in thought, or word, or deed,

Or, like the Prophet, through neglect have erred.

All need forgiveness, all have debts to pay

Ere the night cometh, while it still is day.