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Poems Vol. IV

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"The Salt of the Earth." The salt of the earth—what a meaningful phraseFrom the lips of the Saviour, and one that conveysA sense of the need of a substance salineThis pestilent sphere to refresh and refine,And a healthful and happy condition secureBy making it pure as the ocean is pure. In all the nomenclature known to the race,In all appellations of people or place,Was ever a name so befitting, so trueOf those who are seeking the wrong to undo,With naught of the Pharisee's arrogant airTheir badge of discipleship humbly who wear? Do beings, forsooth, fashioned out of the mold,So secretly, strangely, those elements holdThat may be developed in goodness and graceTo shine in demeanor, in form and in faceTill they, by renewal of heavenly birth,Shall merit their title—the salt of the earth? To the landsman at home or the sailor at sea,With nausea, scurvy, or canker maybe,'Tis never in language to overexaltThe potent preservative virtue of salt—A crystal commodity wholesome and good,A cure for disease, and a savor for food. Ah, the beasts of the wood and the fowls of the airKnow all of the need of this condiment rare,Know well where the springs and the "salt-licks" abound,Where streams salinaceous flow out of the ground;And their cravings appease by sipping the brineWith more than the relish of topers at wine. Our wants may be legion, our needs are but few,And every known ill hath its remedy true;'Tis ours to discover and give to mankindOf hidden essentials the best that we find;'Tis ours to eradicate error and sin,And help to make better the place we are in. If ever this world from corruption is free,And righteousness reign in the kingdom to be,Like salt in its simple and soluble wayInfusing malodor, preventing decay.So human endeavor in action sublimeMust never relax till the finale of time. To thousands discouraged this comforting truthAppeals like the promise of infinite youth:To know, as they labor like bees in the hive,Yet do little more than keep goodness alive—To know that the Master accredits their worthAs blessed disciples—"the salt of the earth."
Not Gone. They are not gone whose lives in beauty so unfoldingHave left their own sweet impress everywhere;Like flowers, while we linger in beholding,Diffusing fragrance on the summer air. They are not gone, for grace and goodness can not perish,But must develop in immortal bloom;The viewless soul, the real self we love and cherish,Shall live and flourish still beyond the tomb. They are not gone though lost to observation,And dispossessed of those dear forms of clay,Though dust and ashes speak of desolation;The spirit-presence—this is ours alway.

Let Us Give Thanks. If we have lived another yearAnd, counting friends by regimentsWho share our love and confidence,Find no more broken ranks,For this let us give thanks. If, since the last Thanksgiving-time,Have we been blessed with strength and health,And added to our honest wealth,Nor lost by broken banks,For this would we give thanks....