Verse > John Greenleaf Whittier > The Poetical Works in Four Volumes
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John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892).  The Poetical Works in Four Volumes.  1892.
 
Appendix II. Poems Printed in the ‘Life of Whittier’
Lines written in an Album: “What shall I wish him?”
 
          [The album belonged to the grandson of Whittier’s life-long friend, Theodore D. Weld, and the lines were written in April, 1884.]

WHAT shall I wish him? Strength and health
May be abused, and so may wealth.
Even fame itself may come to be
But wearying notoriety.
 
What better can I ask than this?—        5
A life of brave unselfishness,
Wisdom for council, eloquence
For Freedom’s need, for Truth’s defence,
The championship of all that ’s good,
The manliest faith in womanhood,        10
The steadfast friendship, changing not
With change of time or place or lot,
Hatred of sin, but not the less
A heart of pitying tenderness
And charity, that, suffering long,        15
Shames the wrong-doer from his wrong:
One wish expresses all—that he
May even as his grandsire be!
 
 
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