Silence (Smart)

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For works with similar titles, see Silence.
Hymn XXVIII. Silence  (1771) 
by Christopher Smart
From the Hymns for the Amusement of Children (1771).
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HYMN XXVIII.

SILENCE.


Before thy betters with suspense,                
     Into thyself withdraw
Silence denotes superior sense,
     And shews superior awe.

5Keep blessing still within thy heart,
     In meditation meek;
Thus thou'rt prepar'd to act thy part.
     When urg'd at length to speak.

When words break forth not duly weigh'd
10     From out the babbler's tongue,
Full many a mournful mischief's made,
     Full many a conscience stung.

Then pray with David, that the Lord
     Wou'd keep himself the door;
15And all things from thy lips award,[1]
     That make thy brother sore.[2]

But if there be a point to praise
     Some godly deed of price,
With all thy might thy plaudits raise,
     Here silence were a vice.
20


Publ. 1771


Notes

  1. 15. award = ward off.
  2. 13—16. Psalms 141:3: "Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips".
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.