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Poems About Honesty

Table of Contents

  1. The Goal by Anonymous
  2. The Boy Who Never Told a Lie by Anonymous
  3. Whole Duty of Children by Robert Louis Stevenson
  4. Rebecca's After-Thought by Elizabeth Turner
  5. A Chance Meeting by Anonymous
  6. A Sermon From the Pew In Front by Anonymous
  7. True Nobility by Robert Nicoll
  8. Happiness by Alexander Pope
  9. Mine by Anonymous
  10. In Goodness is True Greatness by Helen M. Johnson

An honest man is the noblest work of God.

The Rail Splitter, 1860
  1. The Goal

    There is only one worth in the earth and the sky,
    And that is an honest soul.

    – Amos Russel Wells
    The Goal
    by Amos Russel Wells

    There is one thing nobly worth while,
    Though the parrots chatter and scream,
    Though the critics howl and the cynics smile,
    And life seems a mocking dream.

    There is one thing that grandly counts,
    In the face of the tempting glare,
    In the tempests of doubt on the lonely mounts,
    In the thickets of thorny care.

    And that's to hold the truth!
    To abide with justice and right,
    To be a man in genuine sooth,
    With heaven's invincible might.

    There are bowers of beauty and love,
    There are trumpets of lordly fame,
    There are pleasures below and blessings above
    That flash with a lifting flame.

    Let them flaunt their allurements high,
    Let them beckon and call and cajole;
    There is only one worth in the earth and the sky,
    And that is an honest soul.

    He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

    – Micah 6:8
    The Bible, ESV
  2. The Boy Who Never Told a Lie

    by Anonymous

    Once there was a little boy,
    With curly hair and pleasant eye—
    A boy who always told the truth,
    And never, never told a lie.

    And when he trotted off to school,
    The children all about would cry,
    "There goes the curly-headed boy—
    The boy that never tells a lie."

    And everybody loved him so,
    Because he always told the truth,
    That every day, as he grew up,
    'Twas said, "There goes the honest youth."

    And when the people that stood near
    Would turn to ask the reason why,
    The answer would be always this:
    "Because he never tells a lie."

  3. Whole Duty of Children

    by Robert Louis Stevenson

    A child should always say what's true
    And speak when he is spoken to,
    And behave mannerly at table;
    At least as far as he is able.

    Though your duty may be hard,
    Look not on it as an ill;
    If it be an honest task,
    Do it with an honest will.

    – Anonymous
    Boys Wanted
  4. Rebecca's After-Thought

    by Elizabeth Turner

    Yesterday, Rebecca Mason,
    In the parlor by herself,
    Broke a handsome china basin,
    Placed upon the mantel-shelf.

    Quite alarmed, she thought of going
    Very quietly away,
    Not a single person knowing,
    Of her being there that day.

    But Rebecca recollected
    She was taught deceit to shun;
    And the moment she reflected,
    Told her mother what was done;

    Who commended her behavior,
    Loved her better, and forgave her.

  5. A Chance Meeting

    by Anonymous

    I had a moment's talk with him
    And saw that he was good,
    A spirit candid to the brim,
    Breathing of brotherhood,

    A fleeting face, a stranger face
    I shall not meet again,
    Yet earth is now a friendlier place,
    And full of better men.

    If such a whiff of soul transforms
    So blessedly and far,
    What of that world beyond the storms,
    Where none but true men are?

  6. Honesty is the best policy.

    – Edwin Sandys
    Europae Speculum
  7. A Sermon From the Pew In Front

    by Anonymous

    There's a lesson you may learn
    When the little children turn
    Squarely, fairly, in their pew,
    And as squarely gaze at you.

    Sweet their eyes are, sweet and pure,
    Modest also and demure,
    Happy, innocent, sincere,
    Gazing with no thought of fear.

    Should the older people thus
    Turn about and look at us,
    Would their gaze as steady be,
    Truthful, brave, and folly free?

  8. True Nobility

    I seek not for; but answer this,
    Is he an honest man?

    – Robert Nicoll
    True Nobility
    Robert Nicoll

    I ask not for his lineage,
    I ask not for his name;
    If manliness be in his heart,
    He noble birth may claim.
    I care not though of this world’s wealth
    But slender be his part,
    If yes, you answer, when I ask
    Hath he a true man’s heart?

    I ask not from what land he came,
    Nor where his youth was nursed;
    If pure the stream, it matters not
    The spot from whence it burst.
    The palace or the hovel,
    Where first his life began,
    I seek not for; but answer this,
    Is he an honest man?

  9. Happiness

    An honest man's the noblest work of God.

    – Alexander Pope
    Alexander Pope

    Oh, sons of earth! attempt ye still to rise,
    By mountains piled on mountains, to the skies?
    Heaven still with laughter the vain toil surveys,
    And buries madmen in the heaps they raise.
    Know all the good that individuals find,
    Or God and nature meant to mere mankind.
    Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
    Lie in three words,—health, peace, and competence.

    But health consists with temperance alone;
    And peace, O virtue! peace is all thy own.
    The good or bad the gifts of fortune gain;
    But these less taste them as they worse obtain.
    Say, in pursuit of profit or delight,
    Who risk the most, that take wrong means or right?
    Of vice or virtue, whether blest or curst,
    Which meets contempt, or which compassion first?

    Count all th' advantage prosperous vice attains,
    'T is but what virtue flies from and disdains:
    And grant the bad what happiness they would,
    One they must want, which is, to pass for good.
    Oh, blind to truth, and God's whole scheme below,
    Who fancy bliss to vice, to virtue woe!
    Who sees and follows that great scheme the best,
    Best knows the blessing, and will most be blest.

    But fools the good alone unhappy call,
    For ills or accidents that chance to all.
    Think we, like some weak prince, the Eternal Cause,
    Prone for his favorites to reverse his laws?
    Shall burning AEtna, if a sage requires,
    Forget to thunder, and recall her fires?
    When the loose mountain trembles from on high,
    Shall gravitation cease, if you go by?

    "But sometimes virtue starves while vice is fed."
    What, then? Is the reward of virtue bread?
    That, vice may merit, 't is the price of toil;
    The knave deserves it when he tills the soil,
    The knave deserves it when he tempts the main,
    Where folly fights for kings or dives for gain.
    Honor and shame from no condition rise;
    Act well your part, there all the honor lies.

    Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow;
    The rest is all but leather or prunella.
    A wit's a feather, and a chief a rod,
    An honest man's the noblest work of God.
    One self-approving hour whole years outweighs
    Of stupid starers, and of loud huzzas.

    Know then this truth (enough for man to know),
    "Virtue alone is happiness below."
    The only point where human bliss stands still,
    And tastes the good without the fall to ill;
    Where only merit constant pay receives,
    Is blest in what it takes and what it gives.

  10. Mine

    by Amos Russel Wells

    "Old man," the captain blustered,
    In haste to meet the foe,
    "My troops are seeking forage;
    Come! show us where to go."

    A mile he led them onward,
    To where, in beauty spread,
    They saw a field of barley,
    "The very thing!" they said.

    "Not here!" the old man urged them;
    "Have patience for a while."
    And sturdily he led them
    Another weary mile.

    The barley fleld he showed them
    They speedily despoiled;
    Ah, little need of reapers,
    Where such a troop has tolled!

    But "Fie on all this pother!"
    The angry captain cursed;
    "Old man, this second barley
    Is poorer than the first."

    "Perhaps," the good man answered,
    "It may not be so fine;
    But that field is another's
    And this field, sir, is mine."

  11. In Goodness is True Greatness

    by Helen M. Johnson

    I touch the spring—and lo, a face
    Which for these many years
    Within my heart has had a place,
    A tender place—appears.

    The large dark eyes look up to mine,
    So like thyself!—the cheek,
    The brow, the features, all are thine:
    Speak to me, brother, speak!

    And tell me of each grief and care:
    For be they great or small,
    A sister's heart would take a share—
    And, if it could, take all!

    And tell me of each hopeful plan,
    And how the future seems,—
    Oh, may that future to the man
    Be all the boy now dreams.

    I've heard thee say thou wouldst be great,
    And with the gifted shine;
    'T is well; but there's a nobler fate,
    I pray it may be thine:

    It is to be an honest man,—
    To elevate thy race,
    And like the good Samaritan
    Do good in every place;

    To struggle bravely for the right,
    Though kings defend the wrong;
    To live as in thy Maker's sight,
    And in his strength be strong;

    To put the spotless garment on,
    To keep it pure and white,
    And when the endless day shall dawn
    Receive a crown of light.

    Dear brother, fame is but a breath,
    So I implore for thee
    A holy life, a happy death,
    A blest eternity.

An honest answer
is like a kiss on the lips.

– Solomon
Proverbs 24:26, The Bible, NIV

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