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The Army and Navy Hymnal/Hymns/Once to Every Man and Nation

148 Once to Every Man and Nation
James Russell Lowell, 1845 J. Baden Powell, 1885

1.Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side.
Some great cause, God's new Messiah,
Off'ring each the bloom or blight;
And the choice goes by forever,
'Twixt that darkness and that light.
2.Then to side with truth is noble,
When we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit,
And 'tis prosperous to be just ;
Then it is the brave man chooses,
While the coward stands a side,
Till the multitude make virtue
Of the faith they had denied.
3.Count me o'er earth's chosen heroes,
They were souls that stood alone,
Stood serene, and down the future
Saw the golden beam incline
To the side of perfect justice,
Mastered by their faith divine,
By one man's plain truth to manhood
And to God's supreme design.
4.Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet 'tis Truth alone is strong.
Truth forever on the scaffold,
Wrong forever on the throne,
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above his own. Amen.