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

By Verse Musings on Nature, Faith, and Freedom (1889). I. Faith. IV. What is Faith?

John Owen (1836–1896)

FAITH is—not sight,

It boasts not of the sun at noonday bright,

While groping in the starlit haze of night.

—Nor Dogma proud,

Fierce vaunting of all Truth in accents loud,

Beguiling with bold words th’ unthinking crowd.

—Nor Science known,

Seated in queenly robes upon her throne,

Meting the boundless with her claspèd zone.

—Nor Certainty,

The overweening claim that Truth must be

What we forecast from what we hear and see.


Faith does but muse

With heed upon the data she must use,

Nor Likelihood’s fair claim durst she refuse.

Faith does but think

That walking on the Infinite’s dread brink,

She dare not mete its chain by one small link.

Faith does but feel

That which she deems all dimly, may be real,

On her blind guess she will not set Truth’s seal.

Faith doth but hope

She shall see clear—whereas she doth but grope—

When earth’s dark vistas widen to heaven’s scope.

She doth but will

The healthful impulses she would instil

May, by heaven’s prospering, all good fulfil.

She can but trust

Her wistful craving for the True and Just,

Not only may be realised but must.