The Quaker of the Olden Time

Quaker Cemetery-Nantucket

THE QUAKER of the olden time!   

How calm and firm and true,   

Unspotted by its wrong and crime,   

  He walked the dark earth through.   

The lust of power, the love of gain,       

The thousand lures of sin   

Around him, had no power to stain   

  The purity within.   

With that deep insight which detects   

  All great things in the small,            

And knows how each man’s life affects   

  The spiritual life of all,   

He walked by faith and not by sight,   

  By love and not by law;   

The presence of the wrong or right      

  He rather felt than saw.   

He felt that wrong with wrong partakes,   

  That nothing stands alone,   

That whoso gives the motive, makes   

  His brother’s sin his own.            

And, pausing not for doubtful choice   

  Of evils great or small,   

He listened to that inward voice   

  Which called away from all.   

O Spirit of that early day,            

  So pure and strong and true,   

Be with us in the narrow way   

  Our faithful fathers knew.   

Give strength the evil to forsake,   

  The cross of Truth to bear,            

And love and reverent fear to make   

  Our daily lives a prayer!

-John Greenleaf Whittier

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