Nor faith, nor hope, whate'er their force,
Can aught avail the soul,
Should charity not guide its course
To glory's heavenly goal.
The songs of wisdom, tho' they soar
To notes that seraphs swell,
If she be wanting, are no more
Than folly's tinkling bell.
A thousand shapes, as bright as morn,
Sweet Charity assumes,
And all the hues of Heaven adorn
Her variegated plumes.
'Tis she with consolation's voice
That stills affliction's storm,
She bids despairing want rejoice
In bounty's radiant form.
But with what semblance is she seen,
That more her power endears,
Than when with mild instruction's mien
Her infant train she rears?
Then she the earth-bound spirit lifts
Above the valley's clod,
Then gives the richest of her gifts,
The knowledge of her God.