Shall I walk apart
Wrapped in a cloak of selfishness and pride,
If a poor brother struggling by my side,
Faint and sore of heart,
Doth plead that aid my duty to provide?
Shall I my brother's load refuse to share
Saying, "'Tis nought of mine, 'tis thine to bear?
Shall I shrink to clasp
The guilty hand in love or sympathy,
E'en of the meanest of humanity,
If given me to grasp?
Some haggard son from direst misery,
Or drifting daughter 'neath the street lamp's flame,
Mournfully walking on the path of shame?
Shall I dully scorn
That large, clear view of life that may be caught,
The full, rich days of life that may be bought
With pain for others born?
For the merciful deed when interwrought
With pitying words makes the heart to glow
With the joy it labored only to bestow.
—John the Divine (I John 4:20)