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Tread Softly
by [?]

In the courts of truth tread softly,
Though your tread be firm and bold;
Your steps may awaken echoes,
Resounding through years untold.
The trend of the age is onward,
And you should not lag behind;
If men’s minds are bound with fetters,
Perchance you may some unbind.

Our creed, say you, needs revising,
In line with the growth of light;
Be sure you have made real progress
Before you assume the right,
By stroke of pen, to unsettle
The faith of the long ago;
For many who err in judgment
Stand fast to the truth they know.

You bring from the mine rare jewels,
That you think the world should see;
But, perhaps, their estimation
With your own may not agree;
They may lack discrimination,
And their worth may not discern;
So polish them at your leisure,
And give the world time to learn.

Before you dig up the old tree
That sheltered in ages past
The earth’s noblest men and women
From the fury of the blast,
See that your sapling is rooted,
And no borer at its base,
And its boughs both strong and spreading,
To cover an erring race.

Bear down on the lever gently,
Or the rock may be o’erturned!
Or, perchance, your lever shattered,
And little experience learned!
Take time to adjust your fulcrum,
Then thrust home your iron bar;
Bear down and the rock is lifted,
Is lifted without a jar.

Your views are, perhaps, exotic–
Young shoots from a tropic brain,
They need to be better rooted
To endure the wind and rain;
You may well admire the markings
On each graceful stem and leaf,
But if taken from the hot-house,
They will surely come to grief.

Before they have wholly perished
They may please admiring eyes,
The old be thrown on the dunghill,
To receive your floral prize;
They adorn the porch and window,
And brighten the wayside bed,
But we waken some summer morning
To find our new treasures dead.

‘Tis better to make haste slowly,
Than to antedate your day;
The farmer waits for the sunshine,
To transmute the grass to hay.
When the fields are ripe for harvest
Fear neither the heat or rain,
But thrust in your sharpened sickle,
And gather the golden grain.