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John WoolmanEdit

Meek, humble, sinless as a very child,
Such wert thou,—and, though unbeheld, I seem
Oft-times to gaze upon thy features mild,
Thy grave, yet gentle lip, and the soft beam
Of that kind eye, that knew not how to shed
A glance of aught save love, on any human head.

Servant of Jesus! Christian! not alone
In name and creed, with practice differing wide,
Thou didst not in thy conduct fear to own
His self-denying precepts for thy guide.
Stern only to thyself, all others felt
Thy strong rebuke was love, not meant to crush, but melt.

Thou, who didst pour o'er all the human kind
The gushing fervour of thy sympathy!
E'en the unreasoning brute, fail'd not to find
A pleader for his happiness in thee.
Thy heart was moved for every breathing thing,
By careless man exposed to needless suffering.

But most the wrongs and sufferings of the slave,
Stirr'd the deep fountain of thy pitying heart;
And still thy hand was stretch'd to aid and save,
Until it seem'd that thou hadst taken a part
In their existence, and couldst hold no more
A separate life from them, as thou hadst done before.

How the sweet pathos of thy eloquence,
Beautiful in its simplicity, went forth
Entreating for them! that this vile offence,
So unbeseeming of our country's worth,
Might be removed before the threatening cloud,
Thou saw'st o'erhanging it, should burst in storm and blood.

So may thy name be reverenced,—thou wert one
Of those whose virtues link us to our kind,
By our best sympathies; thy day is done,
But its twilight lingers still behind,
In thy pure memory; and we bless thee yet,
For the example fair thou hast before us set.