A poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson

How much, preventing God, how much I owe
To the defences thou hast round me set;
Example, custom, fear, occasion slow,--
These scorned bondmen were my parapet.
I dare not peep over this parapet
To gauge with glance the roaring gulf below,
The depths of sin to which I had descended,
Had not these me against myself defended.

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