Once to Every Man and Nation

Once to ev’ry man and nation

Comes the moment to decide,

In the strife of truth and falsehood,

For the good or evil side;

Some great cause, some great decision,

Off’ring each the bloom or blight,

And the choice goes by forever

‘Twixt that darkness and that light.

Then to side with truth is noble,

When we share her wretched crust,

Ere her cause bring fame and profit,

And ’tis prosperous to be just;

Then it is the brave man chooses

While the coward stands aside.

Till the multitude make virtue

Of the faith they had denied.

By the light of burning martyrs,

Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track,

Toiling up new Calv’ries ever

With the cross that turns not back;

New occasions teach new duties,

Ancient values test our youth;

They must upward still and onward,

Who would keep abreast of truth.

Tho’ the cause of evil prosper,

Yet the truth alone is strong;

Tho’ her portion be the scaffold,

And upon the throne be wrong;

Yet that scaffold sways the future,

And, behind the dim unknown,

Standeth God within the shadow,

Keeping watch above His own.

-James Lowell-

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