Many, if God should make them kings,
Might not disgrace the throne He gave;
How few who could as well fulfil
The holier office of a slave.
I hold him great who, for Love’s sake
Can give, with generous, earnest will,–
Yet he who takes for Love’s sweet sake,
I think I hold more generous still.
I prize the instinct that can turn
From vain pretence with proud disdain;
Yet more I prize a simple heart;
Paying credulity with pain.
I bow before the noble mind
That freely some great wrong forgives;
Yet nobler is the one forgiven,
Who bears that burden well, and lives.
It may be hard to gain, and still
To keep a lowly steadfast heart
Yet he who loses has to fill
A harder and a truer part.
Glorious it is to wear the crown
Of a deserved and pure success;–
He who knows how to fail has won
A Crown whose lustre is not less.
Great may he be who can command
And rule with just and tender sway;
Yet is diviner wisdom taught
Better by him who can obey.
Blessed are those who die for God,
And earn the Martyr’s crown of light–
Yet he who lives for God may be
A greater Conqueror in His sight.
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