Golden Words by Adelaide Anne Procter

Some words are played on golden strings,
Which I so highly rate,
I cannot bear for meaner things
Their sound to desecrate.

For every day they are not meet,
Or for a careless tone;
They are for rarest, and most sweet,
And noblest use alone.

One word is POET: which is flung
So carelessly away,
When such as you and I have sung,
We hear it, day by day.

Men pay it for a tender phrase
Set in a cadenced rhyme:
I keep it as a crown of praise
To crown the kings of time.

And LOVE: the slightest feelings, stirred
By trivial fancy, seek
Expression in that golden word
They tarnish while they speak.

Nay, let the heart’s slow, rare decree,
That word in reverence keep
Silence herself should only be
More sacred and more deep.

FOR EVER: men have grown at length
To use that word, to raise
Some feeble protest into strength,
Or turn some tender phrase.

It should be said in awe and fear
By true heart and strong will,
And burn more brightly year by year,
A starry witness still.

HONOUR: all trifling hearts are fond
Of that divine appeal,
And men, upon the slightest bond,
Set it as slighter seal.

That word should meet a noble foe
Upon a noble field,
And echo–like a deadly blow
Turned by a silver shield.

Trust me, the worth of words is such
They guard all noble things,
And that this rash irreverent touch
Has jarred some golden strings.

For what the lips have lightly said
The heart will lightly hold,
And things on which we daily tread
Are lightly bought and sold.

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The sun of every day will bleach
The costliest purple hue.
And so our common daily speech
Discolours what was true.

But as you keep some thoughts apart
In sacred honoured care,
If in the silence of your heart,
Their utterance too be rare;

Then, while a thousand words repeat
Unmeaning clamours all,
Melodious golden echoes sweet
Shall answer when you call.

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