Truth !  truth ! where is the sound1
of thy calm, unflattering voice to be found ?2
We may go to the Senate, where Wisdom rules,3
And find but deceived or deceiving fools.4
Who dare trust the sages of old,5
When one shall unsay what another has told ?6
And even the lips of childhood and youth7
But rarely echo the tones of truth.8
We hear the choral anthem hymn9
Pealing along the cloisters dim ;10
We hear the priest in his eloquent pride11
Bless those of his faith, but none beside ;12
We hear the worshippers gathered there13
Muttering forth the lengthy prayer ;14
But few of the throng shall come or depart15
With the peaceful truth of a lowly heart.16
Truth !  truth ! thy echoes are mute17
In the tyrant’s oath and the courtier’s salute ;18
The bachannal screams in his maniac laugh,19
The hermit groans o’er his pilgrim staff ;20
But hollow and wild is the maniac’s glee,21
The penance is false as penance can be ;22
And love itself has learned to lie23
In the faithless vow and unfelt sigh.24
Where then, oh ! Truth, may thy voice be found ?25
In the welcoming bay of a faithful hound,26
Thy form is seen and thy breathing heard27
In the leaping fawn and warbling bird.28
There is truth in the soft sweet tones that come29
In the ring-dove’s coo and the honey-bee’s hum ;30
In the dabbling stream whose ripples gem31
The lily-cup and bulrush stem.32
There is truth in the south wind stealing by,33
’Neath the clear blue span of a sun-lit sky ;34
When it hardly deigns, in its perfumed way35
To rustle the leaves on the topmast spray.36
There is truth in the grasshoppers’ twittering song37
In the owlet’s night shriek, loud and strong ;38
In the steed’s glad neigh on the grassy plain,39
In the seamew’s cry on the stormy main.40
There is truth, good truth in the ringing stroke41
Of the axe that is felling the giant oak ;42
In the shrivelled leaves that the hollow blast flings43
To dance at our feet, cold sapless things ; 44
In the tumbling stone that tears away45
The ivy branch from the ruin grey ;46
In the billow that bears on its crystal car47
The rock-torn plant and shattered spar.48
There is nothing that saint or sage may tell,49
Can school the bosom half so well50
As the chink of the sexton’s polished spade,51
Digging a grave ’neath the yew tree’s shade.52
Truth !  truth ! is there ! You may hear her tones53
In the rattling heap of gathered bones ;54
Live but to die” is her lesson to man,55
And learn a wiser if ye can.56