Once to every man and nation


Once to every man and nation,
comes the moment to decide,
in the strife of truth with falsehood,
for the good or evil side;
some great cause, some great decision,
offering each the bloom or blight,
and the choice goes by forever,
'twixt that darkness and that light.

Then to side with truth is noble,
when we share her wretched crust,
ere her cause bring fame and profit,
and 'tis prosperous to be just;
then it is the brave man chooses
while the coward stands aside,
till the multitude make virtue
of the faith they had denied.

By the light of burning martyrs,
Christ, thy bleeding feet we track,
toiling up new Calvaries ever
with the cross that turns not back;
new occasions teach new duties,
ancient values test our youth;
they must upward still and onward,
who would keep abreast of truth.

Though the cause of evil prosper,
yet the truth alone is strong;
though her portion be the scaffold,
and upon the throne be wrong;
yet that scaffold sways the future,
and behind the dim unknown,
standeth God within the shadow,
keeping watch above his own.


Words: James Russell Lowell, 1849

Music: Ton-y-Botel (Ebenezer), Yn y glyn

Meter: 87 87 D

Website compiled by Steve Benner, 1999-2003.