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God's witnesses; the voices of His will,
Heard in the slow march of the centuries still!
Such were the men at whose rebuking frown,
Dark with God's wrath, the tyrant's knee went down;
Such from the terrors of the guilty drew
The vassal's freedom and the poor man's due.
St. Anselm (may he rest forevermore
In Heaven's sweet peace!) forbade, of old, the sale
Of men as slaves, and from the sacred pale
Hurled the Northumbrian buyers of the poor.
To ransom souls from bonds and evil fate
St. Ambrose melted down the sacred plate,—
Image of saint, the chalice, and the pix,
Crosses of gold, and silver candlesticks.
‘Man is worth more than temples! ’ he replied
To such as came his holy work to chide.
And brave Cesarius, stripping altars bare,
And coining from the Abbey's golden hoard
The captive's freedom, answered to the prayer
Or threat of those whose fierce zeal for the Lord
Stifled their love of man,— “An earthen dish
The last sad supper of the Master bore:
Most miserable sinners! do ye wish
More than your Lord, and grudge His dying poor
What your own pride and not His need requires?
Souls, than these shining gauds, He values more;
Mercy, not sacrifice, His heart desires!”
O faithful worthies! resting far behind
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