(This was President Lincoln's favorite song, one which he encored
when sung at a Sunday School convention in
Washington in 1864.)
If you cannot on the ocean
Sail among the swiftest fleet
Rocking on the highest billows.
Laughing at the storms 'you meet.
You can stand among the sailors.
Anchored yet within the bay.
You can lend a hand to help them
As they launch their boats away.
If you are too weak to journey
Up the mountain, steep and high.
You can stand within the valley
While the multitudes go by;
You can chant in happy measure
As they slowly pass along
Though they may forget the singer.
They will not forget the song.
If you have not gold and silver'
Ever ready at command;
If you cannot toward the needy
Reach an, ever-helping hand.
You can succor the afflicted.
O'er the erring you can weep;
With the Saviour's true disciples
'. You a tireless watch may keep.
If you cannot in the harvest
Garner up the richest sheaves.
Many a grain, both ripe and golden.
Oft the careless reaper leaves;
Go and glean among the briers
Growing rank against the wall
For it may be that their shadow
Hides the heaviest wheat of all.
If you cannot in the conflict
Prove yourself a soldier true.
If where fire and smoke are thickest
There's no work for you to do.
When the battlefield is silent.
You can go with careful tread
You can bear away the wounded.
You can cover up the dead.
Do not. then, stand idly waiting
For some greater work to do;
Fortune is a lazy goddess
She will never come to you.
Go and toil in any vineyard;
Do not fear to do or dare
If you want a field of labor
You can find it anywhere.
Mrs. Ellen M. H. Gates.