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Speak Gently

    Speak gently! -- It is better far
        To rule by love, than fear --
    Speak gently -- let not harsh words mar
        The good we might do here!
    Speak gently! -- Love doth whisper low
        The vows that true hearts bind;
    And gently Friendship's accents flow;
        Affection's voice is kind.
    Speak gently to the little child!
       Its love be sure to gain;
   Teach it in accents soft and mild: --
       It may not long remain.
   Speak gently to the young, for they
       Will have enough to bear --
   Pass through this life as best they may,
       'T is full of anxious care!
   Speak gently to the aged one,
       Grieve not the care-worn heart;
   The sands of life are nearly run,
       Let such in peace depart!
   Speak gently, kindly, to the poor;
       Let no harsh tone be heard;
   They have enough they must endure,
       Without an unkind word!
   Speak gently to the erring -- know,
       They may have toiled in vain;
   Perchance unkindness made them so;
       Oh, win them back again!
   Speak gently! -- He who gave his life
       To bend man's stubborn will,
   When elements were in fierce strife,
       Said to them, "Peace, be still."
   Speak gently! -- 't is a little thing
       Dropped in the heart's deep well;
   The good, the joy, which it may bring,
       Eternity shall tell.


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