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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Be Just and Fear Not

Henry Alford (1810–1871)

SPEAK thou the truth. Let others fence,

And trim their words for pay:

In pleasant sunshine of pretence

Let others bask their day.

Guard thou the fact; though clouds of night

Down on thy watch-tower stoop:

Though thou shouldst see thine heart’s delight

Borne from thee by their swoop.

Face thou the wind. Though safer seem

In shelter to abide:

We were not made to sit and dream:

The safe, must first be tried.

Where God hath set His thorns about,

Cry not, “The way is plain:”

His path within for those without

Is paved with toil and pain.

One fragment of His blessèd Word,

Into thy spirit burned,

Is better than the whole, half-heard

And by thine interest turned.

Show thou thy light. If conscience gleam,

Set not thy bushel down:

The smallest spark may send his beam

O’er hamlet, tower, and town.

Woe, woe to him, on safety bent,

Who creeps to age from youth,

Failing to grasp his life’s intent,

Because he fears the truth.

Be true to every inmost thought,

And as thy thought, thy speech:

What thou hast not by suffering bought,

Presume thou not to teach.

Hold on, hold on—thou hast the rock,

The foes are on the sand:

The first world-tempest’s ruthless shock

Scatters their shifting strand:

While each wild gust the mist shall clear

We now see darkly through,

And justified at last appear

The true, in Him that’s True.