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The Words Of Belief

 Three words will I name thee--around and about,
From the lip to the lip, full of meaning, they flee;
But they had not their birth in the being without,
And the heart, not the lip, must their oracle be!
And all worth in the man shall forever be o'er
When in those three words he believes no more.
Man is made free!--Man by birthright is free, Though the tyrant may deem him but born for his tool.
Whatever the shout of the rabble may be-- Whatever the ranting misuse of the fool-- Still fear not the slave, when he breaks from his chain, For the man made a freeman grows safe in his gain.
And virtue is more than a shade or a sound, And man may her voice, in this being, obey; And though ever he slip on the stony ground, Yet ever again to the godlike way, To the science of good though the wise may be blind, Yet the practice is plain to the childlike mind.
And a God there is!--over space, over time, While the human will rocks, like a reed, to and fro, Lives the will of the holy--a purpose sublime, A thought woven over creation below; Changing and shifting the all we inherit, But changeless through all one immutable spirit Hold fast the three words of belief--though about From the lip to the lip, full of meaning, they flee; Yet they take not their birth from the being without-- But a voice from within must their oracle be; And never all worth in the man can be o'er, Till in those three words he believes no more.

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