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by Ellwood Roberts

In human speech there is no harder word
To utter, though we know that we have erred,
Than this—forgive! But who can turn away
From such a prayer, or Hghtly answer, "Nay"?

Each human heart has sometime failed to show
That faithfulness to duty which we owe;
And all, though proud or humble—all who live,
Have need sometimes to turn and say, "Forgive!"

The one whom I had loved and trusted long,
Yielding to sudden impulse, did me wrong;
An enemy, indeed, may wound us sore,
But ah! a friend has power to injure more!

So bitter was the pain, so keen the smart
Of disappointment, that I lacked the heart
To stay and heap reproaches, to upbraid
The one who thus the debt of friendship paid.

And so, in silence musing gloomily,
Absorbed in thought, I stood, when slowly he,
In whom I thought each kindly impulse dead,
Approached; "Forgive me, if thou canst," he said.

How sudden was the change my feelings knew,
As all my own transgressions rose to view;
"Shall I, so prone to err, so apt to stray
From the straight pathway, not forgive to-day?"

'Tis brave to own a fault, in friend or foe,
The highest courage it requires, we know,
To say "Forgive"; then who can turn away
From such a prayer, or who can answer "Nay!"

As we forgive, the sweet thought comes anew,
As we forgive, we are forgiven, too;
Oh, may we learn the lesson, all who live
Have need sometimes to turn and say, "Forgive!"

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