Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
 
IV. Sabbath: Worship: Creed
My Creed
Alice Cary (1820–1871)
 
I HOLD that Christian grace abounds
  Where charity is seen; that when
We climb to heaven, ’t is on the rounds
  Of love to men.
 
I hold all else, named piety,        5
  A selfish scheme, a vain pretence;
Where centre is not—can there be
  Circumference?
 
This I moreover hold, and dare
  Affirm where’er my rhyme may go,—        10
Whatever things be sweet or fair,
  Love makes them so.
 
Whether it be the lullabies
  That charm to rest the nursling bird,
Or the sweet confidence of sighs        15
  And blushes, made without a word.
 
Whether the dazzling and the flush
  Of softly sumptuous garden bowers,
Or by some cabin door, a bush
  Of ragged flowers.        20
 
’T is not the wide phylactery,
  Nor stubborn fast, nor stated prayers,
That make us saints: we judge the tree
  By what it bears.
 
And when a man can live apart        25
  From works, on theologic trust,
I know the blood about his heart
  Is dry as dust.
 
 
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