James Monroe Whitfield

Love

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In the bright dreams of early youth,
I strung my lyre, and waked a strain,
In praise of friendship, love and truth,
Without a thought of care or pain;
But soon, in answer to my strain,
A voice came pealing from above,
Sounding o'er valley, hill and plain --
Where 's he that knows the power of love?


The brainless youth in lady's bower,
Who, sighing, chants some amorous lay,
Or twines a wreath, or plucks a flower,
A tribute of his love to pay.
Or, mid the crowd, the gallant gay,
With witty jest, and jibe, and jeer,
Spending in revelry and play
The few bright hours allowed him here,


Thinks that he knows what 't is to love --
Speaks of that pure and holy flame
Which emanates from God above,
As though 't were nothing but a name
That noble, pure, and holy flame,
Jehovah's chiefest attribute,
Implanted in the human frame,
Raised man above the sordid brute.


And he who ever feels its power,
Whate'er his station, high or low,
In pleasure's or in sorrow's hour,
Will feel his inmost bosom glow
With love to all, both friend and foe;
For God commandeth all to love,
And those who would his glories know,
Must learn this truth, that God is love.

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James Monroe Whitfield