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Poems About Faithfulness

Table of Contents


  1. Only A Dog by Marty Hale
  2. Home Heroism by Anonymous
  3. Bright Star by John Keats
  4. Sabbath Day by Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
  5. Do Thine Own Task by Ellwood Roberts
  6. Walk With Me by Gigi Ryan


  1. Duty by Robert Browning
  2. Our Duty by Richard Lynott O'Malley
  3. The Fortunate Isles by Joaquin Miller
  4. Abraham Davenport by John Greenleaf Whittier
  5. Duty by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  6. The Good Man by Richard Lynott O'Malley
  7. The Faithful Dog by Anonymous
  8. Sonnet to Duty by Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  9. Duty's Path by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  10. Joy and Duty by Henry Van Dyke


  1. Only A Dog

    But none of them took time to see
    The faithful, hungry hound.
    Too tired and true to leave his post,
    He stayed there to the End . . .

    – Marty Hale
    Only A Dog
    by Marty Hale

    "He left no relatives," they said,
    "He didn't have a friend
    Who knew about his sorry plight —
    Was with him at the end!" . . .
    And so they raked the stove fires out,
    And closed the old shack door,
    For grouchy, crusty old Tom Dare
    Would open it no more.

    Then each went to his own home-fires,
    Forgot the lonely shack,
    And not a soul was near to see
    An old form stumble back
    And crouch, sad-eyed, beside the door,
    His bony length stretched flat —
    He waited for his master's voice,
    His friendly little pat.

    Days had been lean for Old Tom Dare,
    Not food enough for two —
    But Old Tom whispered to his dog,
    "I'll share along with you,
    Since Jennie went away from us
    There's been no one to care —
    No one but you to give a thought
    For lonely old Tom Dare."

    And so the two of them had shared,
    If it be feast, or fast,
    That morning Rover had a bone —
    It was their very last,
    And there was nothing left for Tom —
    It didn't matter so,
    Because he lay upon his bed,
    And knew that he must Go.

    The careless villagers passed by,
    As they were pleasure-bound,
    But none of them took time to see
    The faithful, hungry hound.
    Too tired and true to leave his post,
    He stayed there to the End . . .
    And folks had said of Old Tom Dare,
    "He didn't have a friend!"

    The days have passed, but no one stops
    Of all that come and go,
    Old Rover lies beside the door,
    Half-hidden in the snow . . .
    I know that Old Tom had a friend,
    A loyal friend, because
    Today I found Old Rover dead,
    The bone between his paws.

  2. Home Heroism

    O ye who long for brilliant deeds
    Tied down to washing dishes,
    Scorn not the lowly household needs,—
    They are the Master's fishes.

    - Anonymous
    Home Heroism
    by Anonymous. See John 21:1-8.

    That barren night in Galilee
    It found a fruitful morning,
    For Jesus stood beside the sea
    And drew the fishes swarming

    "The Lord!"—and Peter leaped to swim.
    (How very like him this is!)
    The others labored after him,
    Pulling the net with fishes.

    And both were fine and hoth were true,
    And both rejoiced the Master,—
    That frugal, plodding, faithful crew,
    The one that hurried faster.

    O ye who long for brilliant deeds
    Tied down to washing dishes,
    Scorn not the lowly household needs,—
    They are the Master's fishes.

    Act well your part, there all the honor lies.

    – Alexander Pope
  3. Bright Star

    by John Keats

    Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art—
    Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
    And watching, with eternal lids apart,
    Like nature's patient sleepless Eremite,
    The moving waters at their priestlike task
    Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
    Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
    Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
    No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
    Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
    To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
    Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
    Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
    And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

  4. Sabbath Day

    by Margaret E. Sangster

    A little aside from the sweep and whirl,
    The shifting splendor of swift Broadway,
    Is a place where sounds but gently purl,
    And a spell of quiet invests the day.
    There marbles are gleaming in beauty wrought,
    And rosy faces of children glow,
    And the painter's vision hath shrined the thought
    Of tropical sunlight or polar snow.

    There, late on a summer's afternoon,
    Till the shadowing twilight softly fell,
    I lingered, reluctant to leave too soon
    A simple picture which pleased me well.
    Steady and cheerful, strong and sweet,
    Was the womanly face that drew my gaze,
    With a look which smiled my own to meet,
    A wonderful blending of prayer and praise.

    'T was a dame of the Highlands, sturdy still,
    Though youth had left her many a day,
    And used to taking, with resolute will,
    Her path to church in the good old way.
    Whether sunlit mists to the mountains clime
    Or the tempest athwart them were driven wild,
    She went to the kirk, where the psalms were sung,
    Fearless and brave as an eager child.

    I thought how often some trifle kept
    Our dainty women from cushioned pews:
    Too late, perhaps, in the morn they've slept,
    Or the hat is amiss, or tight the shoes;
    There's the hint of rain in the clouded sky,
    And the book and the easy-chair invite.
    I thought as I gazed in the steadfast eye
    Of the Highland mother, blithe and bright—

    Little she cared for the bitter blast,
    Or the swirl of the storm in her lifted face;
    She would win through its uttermost stress at last,
    And endurance was hers, from a hardy race.
    A narrow life in her lowly cot
    She led, as she cared for barn and byre;
    But narrower far, where God is not,
    Are lives which the loftiest men desire.

    There's something grand in the quiet way
    Yon strong soul passes, from sun to sun,
    The week-day hours and the Sabbath-day
    Counting alike by duties done.
    The breath of the hills in that picture fair,
    With the tangled heather bent and wet,
    And the tranquil woman, amid it there,
    Are cordial and help to my spirit yet.

  5. Do Thine Own Task

    by Ellwood Roberts

    Do thine own task; look not to left or right;
    Toil on in faith, according to thy light!
    Thy neighbor's work is not assigned to thee.
    Do thine own task; therewith contented be!

    Pay not much heed to others' blame or praise;
    Let thy own conscience judge of all thy ways!
    The path of duty is the one for all;
    Who elsewhere walks, shall stumble oft and fall.

    Use well thy time; let neither praise nor blame
    Retard thy wise pursuit of lofty aim!
    Each has his own appointed work to do,
    And sweet reward it brings to toiler true.

    Go forth unto the toil assigned to thee,
    Resolved to do it, whatsoe'er it be!
    And, active, earnest, true and faithful still,
    Do thine own task; God's purposes fulfill

  6. Walk With Me

    by Gigi Ryan

    Lord, before me is a task
    I will do, because You ask.
    I don’t embark expecting bliss;
    But by Your grace this rod I kiss.

    The fiery furnace beckons me,
    I go, fulfilling your degree.
    Please, dear Jesus, hold my hand;
    Give me grace to trials withstand.

    Humiliation surely calls;
    Unless You hold me I will fall.
    You were upheld by a cross;
    Your dignity, a total loss.

    May my mission honor You,
    Help me walk in love and truth.
    This path is painful, but I know
    You are with me e’er I go.

  7. Duty

  8. Duty

    The sweetest lives are those to duty wed,
    Whose deeds, both great and small,
    Are close knit strands of an unbroken thread,
    Whose love ennobles all.

    – Robert Browning
    by Robert Browning

    The sweetest lives are those to duty wed,
    Whose deeds, both great and small,
    Are close knit strands of an unbroken thread,
    Whose love ennobles all.
    The world may sound no trumpet, ring no bells;
    The book of life, the shining record tells.

    Thy love shall chant its own beatitudes,
    After its own life-working. A child's kiss
    Set on thy singing lips shall make thee glad;
    A poor man served by thee shall make thee rich;
    A sick man helped by thee shall make thee strong;
    Thou shalt be served thyself by every sense
    Of service thou renderest.

  9. Our Duty

    by Richard Lynott O'Malley

    O disconsolate man, why fret and complain
    That no use was thy birth, that thy life hath been vain?
    Bear in mind, every mortal that ever draws breath
    Has a duty assigned to fulfill before death;
    And thou hast thine own, be it great, be it small,
    And perhaps unaware thou art true to it all.

    Hast thou e'er helped a bosom to banish distress?
    Hast thou e'er helped a heart into happiness?
    Hast thou played with the children, and taught them to play?
    Hast thou prayed with the children, and taught them to pray?
    Hast thou smiled on the good? hast thou frowned upon sin?
    Hast thy heart felt the glow of true kindness within?
    Ay, thy duty is such; yet it may be well done
    By a tear and kind word for the desolate one;
    Yea, e'en but one sigh for a mortal in pain
    Were enough to convince that thy life is not vain.

  10. The Fortunate Isles

    And what are the names of the Fortunate Isles?...
    Duty and Love, and a true man's trust;
    Your forehead to God and your feet in the dust;

    – Joaquin Miller
    The Fortunate Isles
    by Joaquin Miller

    You sail and you seek for the Fortunate Isles,
    The old Greek Isles of the yellow bird's song?
    Then steer right on through the watery miles,
         Straight on, straight on, and you can't go wrong.
    Nay, not to the left, nay, not to the right;
    But on, straight on, and the Isles are in sight,
    The Fortunate Isles, where the yellow birds sing
    And life lies girt with a golden ring.

    These Fortunate Isles, they are not far;
    They lie within reach of the lowliest door;
    You can see them gleam by the twilight star;
    You can hear them sing by the moon's white shore,
    Nay, never look back! Those leveled gravestones,
    They were landing steps; they were steps unto thrones
    Of glory for souls that have sailed before
    And have set white feet on the fortunate shore.

    And what are the names of the Fortunate Isles?
    Why, Duty and Love and a large content.
    Lo! there are the isles of the watery miles
    That God let down from the firmament;
    Lo! Duty and Love, and a true man's trust;
    Your forehead to God and your feet in the dust;
    Lo! Duty and Love, and a sweet babe's smiles,
    And there, O friend, are the Fortunate Isles.

  11. Abraham Davenport

    by John Greenleaf Whittier. NOTE—The "Dark Day," as it is known, occurred May 19th, 1780, and extended over all New England. The darkness came on about ten o'clock in the morning, and lasted with varying degrees of intensity until midnight of the next day. The cause of the phenomenon is unknown.

    'T was on a May day of the far old year
    Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell
    Over the bloom and sweet life of the Spring,
    Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon,
    A horror of great darkness, like the night
    In day of which the Norland sagas tell,
    The Twilight of the Gods.

    The low-hung sky
    Was black with ominous clouds, save where its rim
    Was fringed with a dull glow, like that which climbs
    The crater's sides from the red hell below.
    Birds ceased to sing, and all the barnyard fowls
    Roosted; the cattle at the pasture bars
    Lowed, and looked homeward; bats on leathern wings
    Flitted abroad; the sounds of labor died;
    Men prayed, and women wept; all ears grew sharp
    To hear the doom blast of the trumpet shatter
    The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ
    Might look from the rent clouds, not as he looked
    A loving guest at Bethany, but stern
    As Justice and inexorable Law.

    Meanwhile in the old Statehouse, dim as ghosts,
    Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut,
    Trembling beneath their legislative robes.
    "It is the Lord's Great Day! Let us adjourn,"
    Some said; and then, as if with one accord,
    All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport.

    He rose, slow-cleaving with his steady voice
    The intolerable hush. "This well may be
    The Day of Judgment which the world awaits;
    But be it so or not, I only know
    My present duty, and my Lord's command
    To occupy till he come. So at the post
    Where he hath set me in his providence,
    I choose, for one, to meet him face to face,
    No faithless servant frightened from my task,
    But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls;
    And therefore, with all reverence, I would say,
    Let God do his work, we will see to ours.
    Bring in the candles." And they brought them in.

    Then by the flaring lights the Speaker read,
    Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands,
    An act to amend an act to regulate
    The shad and alewive fisheries. Whereupon,
    Wisely and well spake Abraham Davenport,
    Straight to the question, with no figures of speech
    Save the ten Arab signs, yet not without
    The shrewd, dry humor natural to the man:
    His awe-struck colleagues listening all the while,
    Between the pauses of his argument,
    To hear the thunder of the wrath of God
    Break from the hollow trumpet of the cloud.

    And there he stands in memory to this day,
    Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen
    Against the background of unnatural dark,
    A witness to the ages as they pass,
    That simple duty hath no place for fear.

  12. Duty

    by Ralph Waldo Emerson

    So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
    So near is God to man,
    When Duty whispers low, "Thou must,"
    The youth replies, "I can."

  13. The Good Man

    by Richard Lynott O'Malley

    I met a man on Life's thronged way,
    And thought at once that man was good;
    I learned to know him; strange to say,
    Still thought I that the man was good.
    A virtue loves he, not for praise,
    But for that virtue's sake; to daze
    By show disdained he, Years his ways
    I watched, and still, O still I thought him good.

    Ah! ask you why, amidst the van
    Of heroes, place I him who ran
    His race of life in goodness true?
    Ask you what marvel did he do?
    Duty to God, and self, and man!
    He ended good as he began;
    Such men, alas, are few!

  14. The Faithful Dog

    by Anonymous

    With eye upraised his master's look to scan,
    The joy, the solace, and the aid of man;
    The rich man's guardian and the poor man's friend,
    The only creature faithful to the end.

  15. Sonnet to Duty

    by Thomas Wentworth Higginson

    Light of dim mornings; shield from heat and cold;
    Balm for all ailments; substitute for praise;
    Comrade of those who plod in lonely ways
    (Ways that grow lonelier as the years wax old);
    Tonic for fears; check to the over-bold;
    Nurse, whose calm hand its strong restriction lays,
    Kind but resistless, on our wayward days;
    Mart, where high wisdom at vast price is sold;
    Gardener, whose touch bids the rose-petals fall,
    The thorns endure; surgeon, who human hearts
    Searchest with probes, though the death-touch be given;
    Spell that knits friends, but yearning lovers parts;
    Tyrant relentless o'er our blisses all;—
    Oh, can it be, thine other name is Heaven?

  16. Duty's Path

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    But from the harbour of youth's bay
    There leads the path of pleasure;
    With eager steps we walk that way
    To brim joy's largest measure.
    But when with morn's departing beam
    Goes youth's last precious minute,
    We sigh "'Twas but a fevered dream―
    There's nothing in it."

    Then on our vision dawns afar
    The goal of glory, gleaming
    Like some great radiant solar star,
    And sets us longing, dreaming.
    Forgetting all things left behind,
    We strain each nerve to win it,
    But when 'tis ours―alas! we find
    There's nothing in it.

    We turn our sad, reluctant gaze
    Upon the path of duty;
    Its barren, uninviting ways
    Are void of bloom and beauty.
    Yet in that road, though dark and cold
    It seems as we begin it,
    As we press on―lo! we behold
    There's Heaven in it.

  17. Joy and Duty

    by Henry Van Dyke

    "Joy is a Duty,"—so with golden lore
    The Hebrew rabbis taught in days of yore,
    And happy human hearts heard in their speech
    Almost the highest wisdom man can reach.

    But one bright peak still rises far above,
    And there the Master stands whose name is Love,
    Saying to those whom weary tasks employ:
    "Life is divine when Duty is a Joy."

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