Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CONSCIENCE, by SAMUEL VALENTINE COLE



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CONSCIENCE, by            
First Line: The man of power rejoicing cries, 'I can'
Last Line: Thy law is ever on us and we must.
Subject(s): Conscience


THE man of power rejoicing cries, "I can;"
"I may," the man of pleasure; but we trust,
And all the world trusts with us, still the man
Hearing a different voice, who says, "I must."

O Conscience, Conscience, how we need thee now!
Wind, fire, and earthquake pass; the time abounds
In these great voices; but, oh, where art thou?
Is thy voice lost amid life's grosser sounds?

Or art thou fled across the golden bars
Of evening with thy purer light to shine
Somewhere far off, beyond the quiet stars,
Far off, and leave us without guide or sign?

Not so; earth's towers and battlements decay;
Thrones tremble and fall; old sceptres lose control:
But, as God lives, thou livest; thou wilt stay,
O Conscience, God's vicegerent in the soul!

We are thy bondmen, and thy ways are good;
Thou art what makes us greater than the dust
We came from; and still, howsoe'er we would,
Thy law is ever on us and we must.





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