42. Fair Words

THY words are good, and freely given,
        As though thou felt them true;
Friend, think thee well, to hell or heaven
        A serious heart is due.

It pains thee sore, man's will should swerve
        In his true path divine;
And yet thou ventur'st nought to serve
        Thy neighbour's weal nor thine.

Beware! such words may once be said,
        Where shame and fear unite;
But, spoken twice, they mark instead
        A sin against the light.

December 17, 1832.

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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
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