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A Collection of Short Poems by John Greenleaf Whittier

Below you'll find a variety of shorter poems by John Greenleaf Whittier. This assortment includes, "The Angel of Patience," "An Artist of the Beautiful," "By Their Works," "The Cross," "Eva," "Invocation," "James Russell Lowell," "The Jubilee Singers," "The Moral Warfare," "Norumbega Hall," "Our State," "Overruled," "The Pine-Tree," "The Pressed Gentian," "Thomas Starr King," "To a Cape Ann Schooner," "To Samuel E. Sewall and Harriet W. Sewall," "To William H. Seward," "The Two Loves," "A Woman" and others. Our presentation of these poems comes from The Complete Poetical Works of John Greenleaf Whittier (1894).

To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.


Visit these other John Greenleaf Whittier poems
"Among the Hills"
"Amy Wentworth"
"Andrew Rykman's Prayer"
"The Angels of Buena Vista"
"Barbara Frietchie"
"The Barefoot Boy"
"Cassandra Southwick"
"Chapel of the Hermits"
"The Countess"
"The Double-Headed Snake of Newbury"
"Ego"
"From Perugia"
"Funeral Tree of the Sokokis"
"The Garrison of Cape Ann"
"How the Women Went from Dover"
"The Hunters of Men"
"John Underhill"
"King Volmer and Elsie"
"Lines on a Fly-Leaf"
"Mary Garvin"
"Massachusetts to Virginia"
"Maud Muller"

"The Meeting"
"The Merrimac"
"Miriam"
"The New Wife and the Old"
"The Norsemen"
"Our Master"
"An Outdoor Reception"
"The Peace Convention at Brussels"
"Pennsylvania Hall"
"The Pipes at Lucknow"
"The Preacher"
"The Quaker Alumni"
"Questions of Life"
"Randolph of Roanoke"
"The Singer"
"The Slave Ships"
"A Summer Pilgrimage"
"Sumner"
"The Swan Song of Parson Avery"
"To My Old Schoolmaster"
"Toussaint L'Ouverture"
"The Truce of Piscataqua"



Potential uses for the free books, stories and prose we offer
* Rediscovering an old favorite book, poem or story.
* Bibliophiles expanding their collection of public domain eBooks at no cost.
* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a classic poem or short story for use in the classroom.

NOTE: We try to present these classic poetic works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.


"The Angel of Patience" by John Greenleaf Whittier

THE ANGEL OF PATIENCE

A FREE PARAPHRASE OF THE GERMAN

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

To weary hearts, to mourning homes,
God's meekest Angel gently comes:
No power has he to banish pain,
Or give us back our lost again;
And yet in tenderest love, our dear
And Heavenly Father sends him here.

There 's quiet in that Angel's glance,
There 's rest in his still countenance!
He mocks no grief with idle cheer,
Nor wounds with words the mourner's ear;
But ills and woes he may not cure
He kindly trains us to endure.

Angel of Patience! sent to calm
Our feverish brows with cooling palm;
To lay the storms of hope and fear,
And reconcile life's smile and tear;
The throbs of wounded pride to still,
And make our own our Father's will!

O thou who mournest on thy way,
With longings for the close of day;
He walks with thee, that Angel kind,
And gently whispers, "Be resigned:
Bear up, bear on, the end shall tell
The dear Lord ordereth all things well!"


"An Artist of the Beautiful"

AN ARTIST OF THE BEAUTIFUL

GEORGE FULLER

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Haunted of Beauty, like the marvellous youth
Who sang Saint Agnes' Eve! How passing fair
Her shapes took color in thy homestead air!
How on thy canvas even her dreams were truth!
Magician! who from commonest elements
Called up divine ideals, clothed upon
By mystic lights soft blending into one
Womanly grace and child-like innocence.
Teacher! thy lesson was not given in vain.
Beauty is goodness; ugliness is sin:
Art's place is sacred: nothing foul therein
May crawl or tread with bestial feet profane.
If rightly choosing is the painter's test,
Thy choice, O master, ever was the best.


"The Book" by John Greenleaf Whittier

THE BOOK

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Gallery of sacred pictures manifold,
A minster rich in holy effigies,
And bearing on entablature and frieze
The hieroglyphic oracles of old.
Along its transept aureoled martyrs sit;
And the low chancel side-lights half acquaint
The eye with shrines of prophet, bard, and saint,
Their age-dimmed tablets traced in doubtful writ!
But only when on form and word obscure
Falls from above the white supernal light
We read the mystic characters aright,
And life informs the silent portraiture,
Until we pause at last, awe-held, before
The One ineffable Face, love, wonder, and adore.


"By Their Works" by John Greenleaf Whittier

BY THEIR WORKS

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Call him not heretic whose works attest
His faith in goodness by no creed confessed.
Whatever in love's name is truly done
To free the bound and lift the fallen one
Is done to Christ. Whoso in deed and word
Is not against Him labors for our Lord.
When He, who, sad and weary, longing sore
For love's sweet service, sought the sisters' door,
One saw the heavenly, one the human guest,
But who shall say which loved the Master best?


"The Cross" by John Greenleaf Whittier

THE CROSS

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

"The cross, if rightly borne, shall be
No burden, but support to thee;"
So, moved of old time for our sake,
The holy monk of Kempen spake.

Thou brave and true one! upon whom
Was laid the cross of martyrdom,
How didst thou, in thy generous youth,
Bear witness to this blessed truth!

Thy cross of suffering and of shame
A staff within thy hands became,
In paths where faith alone could see
The Master's steps supporting thee.

Thine was the seed-time; God alone
Beholds the end of what is sown;
Beyond our vision, weak and dim,
The harvest-time is hid with Him.

Yet, unforgotten where it lies,
That seed of generous sacrifice,
Though seeming on the desert cast,
Shall rise with bloom and fruit at last.


"An Easter Flower Gift"

AN EASTER FLOWER GIFT

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

O dearest bloom the seasons know,
Flowers of the Resurrection blow,
Our hope and faith restore;
And through the bitterness of death
And loss and sorrow, breathe a breath
Of life forevermore!

The thought of Love Immortal blends
With fond remembrances of friends;
In you, O sacred flowers,
By human love made doubly sweet,
The heavenly and the earthly meet,
The heart of Christ and ours!


"Eva" by John Greenleaf Whittier

EVA

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Dry the tears for holy Eva,
With the blessed angels leave her;
Of the form so soft and fair
Give to earth the tender care.

For the golden locks of Eva
Let the sunny south-land give her
Flowery pillow of repose,
Orange-bloom and budding rose.

In the better home of Eva
Let the shining ones receive her,
With the welcome-voiced psalm,
Harp of gold and waving palm!

All is light and peace with Eva;
There the darkness cometh never;
Tears are wiped, and fetters fall,
And the Lord is all in all.

Weep no more for happy Eva,
Wrong and sin no more shall grieve her;
Care and pain and weariness
Lost in love so measureless.

Gentle Eva, loving Eva,
Child confessor, true believer,
Listener at the Master's knee,
"Suffer such to come to me."

Oh, for faith like thine, sweet Eva,
Lighting all the solemn river,
And the blessings of the poor
Wafting to the heavenly shore!


"Help" by John Greenleaf Whittier

HELP

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Dream not, O Soul, that easy is the task
Thus set before thee. If it proves at length,
As well it may, beyond thy natural strength,
Faint not, despair not. As a child may ask
A father, pray the Everlasting Good
For light and guidance midst the subtle snares
Of sin thick planted in life's thoroughfares,
For spiritual strength and moral hardihood;
Still listening, through the noise of time and sense,
To the still whisper of the Inward Word;
Bitter in blame, sweet in approval heard,
Itself its own confirming evidence:
To health of soul a voice to cheer and please,
To guilt the wrath of the Eumenides.


"Inscription" by John Greenleaf Whittier
0
INSCRIPTION

For the bass-relief by Preston Powers, carved
upon the huge boulder in Denver Park, Col., and
representing the Last Indian and the Last Bison.

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

The eagle, stooping from yon snow-blown peaks,
For the wild hunter and the bison seeks,
In the changed world below; and finds alone
Their graven semblance in the eternal stone.


"Inscription - On a Fountain"
1
INSCRIPTION: ON A FOUNTAIN

FOR DOROTHEA L. DIX

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Stranger and traveller,
Drink freely and bestow
A kindly thought on her
Who bade this fountain flow,
Yet hath no other claim
Than as the minister
Of blessing in God's name.
Drink, and in His peace go!


"Inscription - On a Sun-dial"
2
INSCRIPTION: ON A SUN-DIAL

FOR DR. HENRY I. BOWDITCH

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

With warning hand I mark Time's rapid flight
From life's glad morning to its solemn night;
Yet, through the dear God's love, I also show
There's Light above me by the Shade below.


"Invocation" by John Greenleaf Whittier
3
INVOCATION

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Through Thy clear spaces, Lord, of old,
Formless and void the dead earth rolled;
Deaf to Thy heaven's sweet music, blind
To the great lights which o'er it shined;
No sound, no ray, no warmth, no breath,--
A dumb despair, a wandering death.

To that dark, weltering horror came
Thy spirit, like a subtle flame,--
A breath of life electrical,
Awakening and transforming all,
Till beat and thrilled in every part
The pulses of a living heart.

Then knew their bounds the land and sea;
Then smiled the bloom of mead and tree;
From flower to moth, from beast to man,
The quick creative impulse ran;
And earth, with life from thee renewed,
Was in thy holy eyesight good.

As lost and void, as dark and cold
And formless as that earth of old;
A wandering waste of storm and night,
Midst spheres of song and realms of light;
A blot upon thy holy sky,
Untouched, unwarned of thee, am I.

O Thou who movest on the deep
Of spirits, wake my own from sleep!
Its darkness melt, its coldness warm,
The lost restore, the ill transform,
That flower and fruit henceforth may be
Its grateful offering, worthy Thee.


"James Russell Lowell" by John Greenleaf Whittier
4
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

From purest wells of English undefiled
None deeper drank than he, the New World's child,
Who in the language of their farm-fields spoke
The wit and wisdom of New England folk,
Shaming a monstrous wrong. The world-wide laugh
Provoked thereby might well have shaken half
The walls of Slavery down, ere yet the ball
And mine of battle overthrew them all.


"The Jubilee Singers" by John Greenleaf Whittier
5
THE JUBILEE SINGERS

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Voice of a people suffering long,
The pathos of their mournful song,
The sorrow of their night of wrong!

Their cry like that which Israel gave,
A prayer for one to guide and save,
Like Moses by the Red Sea's wave!

The stern accord her timbrel lent
To Miriam's note of triumph sent
O'er Egypt's sunken armament!

The tramp that startled camp and town,
And shook the walls of slavery down,
The spectral march of old John Brown!

The storm that swept through battle-days,
The triumph after long delays,
The bondmen giving God the praise!

Voice of a ransomed race, sing on
Till Freedom's every right is won,
And slavery's every wrong undone!


"The Light that is Felt"
6
THE LIGHT THAT IS FELT

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

A tender child of summers three,
Seeking her little bed at night,
Paused on the dark stair timidly.
"Oh, mother! Take my hand," said she,
"And then the dark will all be light."

We older children grope our way
From dark behind to dark before;
And only when our hands we lay,
Dear Lord, in Thine, the night is day,
And there is darkness nevermore.

Reach downward to the sunless days
Wherein our guides are blind as we,
And faith is small and hope delays;
Take Thou the hands of prayer we raise,
And let us feel the light of Thee!


"The Moral Warfare" by John Greenleaf Whittier
7
THE MORAL WARFARE

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

When Freedom, on her natal day,
Within her war-rocked cradle lay,
An iron race around her stood,
Baptized her infant brow in blood;
And, through the storm which round her swept,
Their constant ward and watching kept.

Then, where our quiet herds repose,
The roar of baleful battle rose,
And brethren of a common tongue
To mortal strife as tigers sprung,
And every gift on Freedom's shrine
Was man for beast, and blood for wine!

Our fathers to their graves have gone;
Their strife is past, their triumph won;
But sterner trials wait the race
Which rises in their honored place;
A moral warfare with the crime
And folly of an evil time.

So let it be. In God's own might
We gird us for the coming fight,
And, strong in Him whose cause is ours
In conflict with unholy powers,
We grasp the weapons He has given,--
The Light, and Truth, and Love of Heaven.


"Norumbega Hall" by John Greenleaf Whittier
8
NORUMBEGA HALL

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Not on Penobscot's wooded bank the spires
Of the sought City rose, nor yet beside
The winding Charles, nor where the daily tide
Of Naumkeag's haven rises and retires,
The vision tarried; but somewhere we knew
The beautiful gates must open to our quest,
Somewhere that marvellous City of the West
Would lift its towers and palace domes in view,
And, lo! at last its mystery is made known--
Its only dwellers maidens fair and young,
Its Princess such as England's Laureate sung;
And safe from capture, save by love alone,
It lends its beauty to the lake's green shore,
And Norumbega is a myth no more.


"Our State" by John Greenleaf Whittier
9
OUR STATE

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

The South-land boasts its teeming cane,
The prairied West its heavy grain,
And sunset's radiant gates unfold
On rising marts and sands of gold!

Rough, bleak, and hard, our little State
Is scant of soil, of limits strait;
Her yellow sands are sands alone,
Her only mines are ice and stone!

From Autumn frost to April rain,
Too long her winter woods complain;
From budding flower to falling leaf,
Her summer time is all too brief.

Yet, on her rocks, and on her sands,
And wintry hills, the school-house stands,
And what her rugged soil denies,
The harvest of the mind supplies.

The riches of the Commonwealth
Are free, strong minds, and hearts of health;
And more to her than gold or grain,
The cunning hand and cultured brain.

For well she keeps her ancient stock,
The stubborn strength of Pilgrim Rock;
And still maintains, with milder laws,
And clearer light, the Good Old Cause!

Nor heeds the skeptic's puny hands,
While near her school the church-spire stands;
Nor fears the blinded bigot's rule,
While near her church-spire stands the school.


"Overruled" by John Greenleaf Whittier
0
OVERRULED

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

The threads our hands in blindness spin
No self-determined plan weaves in;
The shuttle of the unseen powers
Works out a pattern not as ours.

Ah! small the choice of him who sings
What sound shall leave the smitten strings;
Fate holds and guides the hand of art;
The singer's is the servant's part.

The wind-harp chooses not the tone
That through its trembling threads is blown;
The patient organ cannot guess
What hand its passive keys shall press.

Through wish, resolve, and act, our will
Is moved by undreamed forces still;
And no man measures in advance
His strength with untried circumstance.

As streams take hue from shade and sun,
As runs the life the song must run;
But, glad or sad, to His good end
God grant the varying notes may tend!


"The Pine-Tree" by John Greenleaf Whittier
1
THE PINE-TREE

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Lift again the stately emblem on the Bay State's rusted shield,
Give to Northern winds the Pine-Tree on our banner's tattered field.
Sons of men who sat in council with their Bibles round the board,
Answering England's royal missive with a firm, "Thus saith the Lord!"
Rise again for home and freedom! set the battle in array!
What the fathers did of old time we their sons must do to-day.

Tell us not of banks and tariffs, cease your paltry pedler cries;
Shall the good State sink her honor that your gambling stocks may rise?
Would ye barter man for cotton? That your gains may sum up higher,
Must we kiss the feet of Moloch, pass our children through the fire?
Is the dollar only real? God and truth and right a dream?
Weighed against your lying ledgers must our manhood kick the beam?

O my God! for that free spirit, which of old in Boston town
Smote the Province House with terror, struck the crest of Andros down!
For another strong-voiced Adams in the city's streets to cry,
"Up for God and Massachusetts! Set your feet on Mammon's lie!
Perish banks and perish traffic, spin your cotton's latest pound,
But in Heaven's name keep your honor, keep the heart o' the Bay State sound!"

Where's the man for Massachusetts? Where's the voice to speak her free?
Where's the hand to light up bonfires from her mountains to the sea?
Beats her Pilgrim pulse no longer? Sits she dumb in her despair?
Has she none to break the silence? Has she none to do and dare?
O my God! for one right worthy to lift up her rusted shield,
And to plant again the Pine-Tree in her banner's tattered field!


"The Pressed Gentian" by John Greenleaf Whittier
2
THE PRESSED GENTIAN

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

The time of gifts has come again,
And, on my northern window-pane,
Outlined against the day's brief light,
A Christmas token hangs in sight.
The wayside travellers, as they pass,
Mark the gray disk of clouded glass;
And the dull blankness seems, perchance,
Folly to their wise ignorance.

They cannot from their outlook see
The perfect grace it hath for me;
For there the flower, whose fringes through
The frosty breath of autumn blew,
Turns from without its face of bloom
To the warm tropic of my room,
As fair as when beside its brook
The hue of bending skies it took.

So from the trodden ways of earth,
Seem some sweet souls who veil their worth,
And offer to the careless glance
The clouding gray of circumstance.
They blossom best where hearth-fires burn,
To loving eyes alone they turn
The flowers of inward grace, that hide
Their beauty from the world outside.

But deeper meanings come to me,
My half-immortal flower, from thee!
Man judges from a partial view,
None ever yet his brother knew;
The Eternal Eye that sees the whole
May better read the darkened soul,
And find, to outward sense denied,
The flower upon its inmost side!


"Requirement" by John Greenleaf Whittier
3
REQUIREMENT

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

We live by Faith; but Faith is not the slave
Of text and legend. Reason's voice and God's,
Nature's and Duty's, never are at odds.
What asks our Father of His children, save
Justice and mercy and humility,
A reasonable service of good deeds,
Pure living, tenderness to human needs,
Reverence and trust, and prayer for light to see
The Master's footprints in our daily ways?
No knotted scourge nor sacrificial knife,
But the calm beauty of an ordered life
Whose very breathing is unworded praise!--
A life that stands as all true lives have stood,
Firm-rooted in the faith that God is Good.


The "Story of Ida" by John Greenleaf Whittier
4
THE "STORY OF IDA"

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Weary of jangling noises never stilled,
The skeptic's sneer, the bigot's hate, the din
Of clashing texts, the webs of creed men spin
Round simple truth, the children grown who build
With gilded cards their new Jerusalem,
Busy, with sacerdotal tailorings
And tinsel gauds, bedizening holy things,
I turn, with glad and grateful heart, from them
To the sweet story of the Florentine
Immortal in her blameless maidenhood,
Beautiful as God's angels and as good;
Feeling that life, even now, may be divine
With love no wrong can ever change to hate,
No sin make less than all-compassionate!


"Thomas Starr King" by John Greenleaf Whittier
5
THOMAS STARR KING

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

The great work laid upon his twoscore years
Is done, and well done. If we drop our tears,
Who loved him as few men were ever loved,
We mourn no blighted hope nor broken plan
With him whose life stands rounded and approved
In the full growth and stature of a man.
Mingle, O bells, along the Western slope,
With your deep toll a sound of faith and hope!
Wave cheerily still, O banner, half-way down,
From thousand-masted bay and steepled town!
Let the strong organ with its loftiest swell
Lift the proud sorrow of the land, and tell
That the brave sower saw his ripened grain.
O East and West! O morn and sunset twain
No more forever!--has he lived in vain
Who, priest of Freedom, made ye one, and told
Your bridal service from his lips of gold?


"To a Cape Ann Schooner"
6
TO A CAPE ANN SCHOONER

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Luck to the craft that bears this name of mine,
Good fortune follow with her golden spoon
The glazed hat and tarry pantaloon;
And wheresoe'er her keel shall cut the brine,
Cod, hake and haddock quarrel for her line.
Shipped with her crew, whatever wind may blow,
Or tides delay, my wish with her shall go,
Fishing by proxy. Would that it might show
At need her course, in lack of sun and star,
Where icebergs threaten, and the sharp reefs are;
Lift the blind fog on Anticosti's lee
And Avalon's rock; make populous the sea
Round Grand Manan with eager finny swarms,
Break the long calms, and charm away the storms.


"To Samuel E. Sewall and Harriet W. Sewall"
7
TO SAMUEL E. SEWALL AND HARRIET W. SEWALL

OF MELROSE

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

OLOR ISCANUS queries: "Why should we
Vex at the land's ridiculous miserie?"
So on his Usk banks, in the blood-red dawn
Of England's civil strife, did careless Vaughan
Bemock his times. O friends of many years!
Though faith and trust are stronger than our fears,
And the signs promise peace with liberty,
Not thus we trifle with our country's tears
And sweat of agony. The future's gain
Is certain as God's truth; but, meanwhile, pain
Is bitter and tears are salt: our voices take
A sober tone; our very household songs
Are heavy with a nation's griefs and wrongs;
And innocent mirth is chastened for the sake
Of the brave hearts that nevermore shall beat,
The eyes that smile no more, the unreturning feet!


"To William H. Seward"
8
TO WILLIAM H. SEWARD

1861

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

STATESMAN, I thank thee! and, if yet dissent
Mingles, reluctant, with my large content,
I cannot censure what was nobly meant.
But, while constrained to hold even Union less
Than Liberty and Truth and Righteousness,
I thank thee in the sweet and holy name
Of peace, for wise calm words that put to shame
Passion and party. Courage may be shown
Not in defiance of the wrong alone;
He may be bravest who, unweaponed, bears
The olive branch, and, strong in justice, spares
The rash wrong-doer, giving widest scope
To Christian charity and generous hope.
If, without damage to the sacred cause
Of Freedom and the safeguard of its laws--
If, without yielding that for which alone
We prize the Union, thou canst save it now
From a baptism of blood, upon thy brow
A wreath whose flowers no earthly soil have known,
Woven of the beatitudes, shall rest,
And the peacemaker be forever blest!


"The Two Loves" by John Greenleaf Whittier
9
THE TWO LOVES

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Smoothing soft the nestling head
Of a maiden fancy-led,
Thus a grave-eyed woman said:

"Richest gifts are those we make,
Dearer than the love we take
That we give for love's own sake.

"Well I know the heart's unrest;
Mine has been the common quest,
To be loved and therefore blest.

"Favors undeserved were mine;
At my feet as on a shrine
Love has laid its gifts divine.

"Sweet the offerings seemed, and yet
With their sweetness came regret,
And a sense of unpaid debt.

"Heart of mine unsatisfied,
Was it vanity or pride
That a deeper joy denied?

"Hands that ope but to receive
Empty close; they only live
Richly who can richly give.

"Still," she sighed, with moistening eyes,
"Love is sweet in any guise;
But its best is sacrifice!

"He who, giving, does not crave
Likest is to Him who gave
Life itself the loved to save.

"Love, that self-forgetful gives,
Sows surprise of ripened sheaves,
Late or soon its own receives."


"Utterance" by John Greenleaf Whittier
0
UTTERANCE

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

But what avail inadequate words to reach
The innermost of Truth? Who shall essay,
Blinded and weak, to point and lead the way,
Or solve the mystery in familiar speech?
Yet, if it be that something not thy own,
Some shadow of the Thought to which our schemes,
Creeds, cult, and ritual are at best but dreams,
Is even to thy unworthiness made known,
Thou mayst not hide what yet thou shouldst not dare
To utter lightly, lest on lips of thine
The real seem false, the beauty undivine.
So, weighing duty in the scale of prayer,
Give what seems given thee. It may prove a seed
Of goodness dropped in fallow-grounds of need.


"A Woman" by John Greenleaf Whittier
1
A WOMAN

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Oh, dwarfed and wronged, and stained with ill,
Behold! thou art a woman still!
And, by that sacred name and dear,
I bid thy better self appear.
Still, through thy foul disguise, I see
The rudimental purity,
That, spite of change and loss, makes good
Thy birthright-claim of womanhood;
An inward loathing, deep, intense;
A shame that is half innocence.
Cast off the grave-clothes of thy sin!
Rise from the dust thou liest in,
As Mary rose at Jesus' word,
Redeemed and white before the Lord!
Reclaim thy lost soul! In His name,
Rise up, and break thy bonds of shame.
Art weak? He 's strong. Art fearful? Hear
The world's O'ercomer: "Be of cheer!"
What lip shall judge when He approves?
Who dare to scorn the child He loves?


"The Word" by John Greenleaf Whittier
2
THE WORD

BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

Voice of the Holy Spirit, making known
Man to himself, a witness swift and sure,
Warning, approving, true and wise and pure,
Counsel and guidance that misleadeth none!
By thee the mystery of life is read;
The picture-writing of the world's gray seers,
The myths and parables of the primal years,
Whose letter kills, by thee interpreted
Take healthful meanings fitted to our needs,
And in the soul's vernacular express
The common law of simple righteousness.
Hatred of cant and doubt of human creeds
May well be felt: the unpardonable sin
Is to deny the Word of God within!


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