Noli Æmulari

A poem by Arthur Hugh Clough

In controversial foul impureness
The peace that is thy light to thee
Quench not: in faith and inner sureness
Possess thy soul and let it be.

No violence, perverse, persistent,
What cannot be can bring to be;
No zeal what is make more existent,
And strife but blinds the eyes that see.

What though in blood their souls embruing,
The great, the good, and wise they curse,
Still sinning, what they know not doing;
Stand still, forbear, nor make it worse.

By curses, by denunciation,
The coming fate they cannot stay;
Nor thou, by fiery indignation,
Though just, accelerate the day.

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