John Greenleaf Whittier

(17 December 1807 – 7 September 1892 / Haverhill, Massachusetts)

Calef In Boston, 1692 - Poem by John Greenleaf Whittier

IN the solemn days of old,
Two men met in Boston town,
One a tradesman frank and bold,
One a preacher of renown.
Cried the last, in bitter tone:
'Poisoner of the wells of truth!
Satan's hireling, thou hast sown
With his tares the heart of youth!'
Spake the simple tradesman then,
'God be judge 'twixt thee and me;
All thou knowed of truth hath been
Once a lie to men like thee.
'Falsehoods which we spurn to-day
Were the truths of long ago;
Let the dead boughs fall away,
Fresher shall the living grow.
'God is good and God is light,
In this faith I rest secure;
Evil can but serve the right,
Over all shall love endure.
'Of your spectral puppet play
I have traced the cunning wires;
Come what will, I needs must say,
God is true, and ye are liars.'
When the thought of man is free,
Error fears its lightest tones;
So the priest cried, 'Sadducee!'
And the people took up stones.
In the ancient burying-ground,
Side by side the twain now lie;
One with humble grassy mound,
One with marbles pale and high,
But the Lord hath blest the seed
Which that tradesman scattered then,
And the preacher's spectral creed
Chills no more the blood of men.
Let us trust, to one is known
Perfect love which casts out fear,
While the other's joys atone
For the wrong he suffered here.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 6, 2010



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