How many we meet as we travel along
Who go with the tide of the popular throng,
What other men think, they think, and no more,
What other men do, doing, they are secure;
So on with the current they eddy and whirl,
Never pausing to look for Truth's beautiful pearl;
But what if Galileo long years ago
Had not dared to steer 'gainst the tide's changeless flow?
And oh! what if Luther had gone with the tide
And done what they did, and done nothing beside?
And what if Columbus had buried his light
And let the world grope in its ignorant night,
Because all alone, he with Truth had to stand,
Where now might have languished our beautiful land?
What banner of Truth over error would wave
If none ever dared false opinion to brave?
But they clung to their pearls while the mocking crowd passed
And Truth twined for them fadeless laurels at last.
And many another whose name is forgot
But whose thoughts, words, and deeds into sunbeams are wrought,
That stream down the ages to light some dark place
Or shine like the stars on a benighted race;
So whate'er you do, though you travel alone,
Think for yourself, have a mind of your own;
For the thoughts we are thinking must fashion the world,
And if false, or if true, they shall sometimes be hurled
Far out of our reach down the centuries' flight;
As clouds to their day, or as stars to their night.