Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Constancy
By George Herbert (1593–1633)
 
  WHO is the honest man?
He that doth still and strongly good pursue;
To God, his neighbor, and himself, most true.
  Whom neither force nor fawning can
Unpin, or wrench from giving all their due.        5
 
  Whose honesty is not
So loose or easy, that a ruffling wind
Can blow away, or glittering look it blind.
  Who rides his sure and even trot,
While the world now rides by, now lags behind.        10
 
  Who, when great trials come,
Nor seeks, nor shuns them, but doth calmly stay,
Till he the thing and the example weigh.
  All being brought into a sum,
What place or person calls for, he doth pay.        15
 
  Whom none can work or woo,
To use in any thing a trick, or sleight;
For above all things he abhors deceit.
  His words and works, and fashion too,
All of a piece; and all are clear and straight.        20
 
  Who never melts or thaws
At close temptations. When the day is done,
His goodness sets not, but in dark can run.
  The sun to others writeth laws,
And is their virtue: virtue is his sun.        25
 
  Who, when he is to treat
With sick folks, women, those whom passions sway,
Allows for that, and keeps his constant way;
  Whom others’ faults do not defeat;
But, though men fail him, yet his part doth play.        30
 
  Whom nothing can procure,
When the wide world runs bias, from his will
To writhe his limbs, and share, not mend, the ill.
  This is the marksman safe and sure;
Who still is right, and prays to be so still.        35
 
 
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