by Richard Chenevix Trench

Thou that in life’s crowded city art arrived, thou knowest not how —

By what path or on what errand —list and learn thine errand now.

Thou that in life’s crowded city art arrived, thou knowest not how —

By what path or on what errand —list and learn thine errand now.

 

From the palace to the city on the business of the King

Thou wert sent at early morning, to return at evening.

 

Dreamer, waken; loiterer, hasten; what thy task is understand:

Thou art here to purchase substance, and the price is in thine hand.

 

Has the tumult of the market all thy sense confused and drowned?

Do its glittering wares entice thee, or its shouts and cries confound?

 

Oh, beware lest thy Lord’s business be forgotten, while thy gaze

Is on every show and pageant which the giddy square displays.

 

Barter not his gold for pebble; do not trade in vanities;

Pearls there are of price and jewels for the purchase of the wise.

 

And know this — at thy returning thou wilt surely find the King

With an open book before  Him, waiting to make reckoning.

 

Thus large honors will the faithful, earnest service of one day

Reap of Him; but one day’s folly largest penalties will pay.

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