The Future Verdict

How will our unborn children scoff at us
In the good years to come,
The happier ears to come,
Because, like driven sheep, we yielded thus,
Before the shearers dumb.

What are the words their wiser lips will say?
'These men had gained the light;
'These women knew the right;
'They had their chance, and let it slip away.
'They did not, when they might.

'They were the first to hear the gospel preached,
'And to believe therein;
'Yet they remained in sin.
'They saw the promised land they might have reached,
'And dared not enter in.

'They might have won their freedom, had they tried;
'No savage laws forbade;
'For them the way was made.
'They might have had the joys for which they cried
'And yet they shrank, afraid.

'Afraid to face - the martyr's rack and flame?
'The traitor's dungeon? Nay -
'Of what their world would say -
'The smile, the joke, the thinnest ghost of blame!
'Lord! Lord! What fools were they!'

And we - no longer actors of the stage
We cumber now - maybe
With other eyes shall see
This wasted chance, and with celestial rage
Cry 'O what fools were we!'

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