James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

February 7

Pio Nono

By Julia Ward Howe (1819–1910)

(Died Feb. 7, 1878)

THOU should’st have had more faith! thy hand did shed

The seed of Freedom in the field of God,

But the last peril drove thee from thy bounds,

And stranger feet the unripe harvest trod.

Thou should’st have had more faith! thy crown was hung

High-pitched, upon a sharp and thorny tree;

We saw thee wrestle bravely with the boughs,

But the last buffet did dishearten thee.

Thou should’st have had more faith! the voice of Christ

Called thee to meet him, walking on the wave;

Thou should’st have trod the waters as a path,

Such power divine thy holy mission gave.

Shoreward thy recreant footsteps turn and sink;

In vain the heavenly voice, the outstretched arm,

Thou heed’st not, though a God doth beckon thee,

Binding the billows with a golden charm.

Where glory should have crowned thee, failure whelms,

Truth judges thee, that should have made thee great;

Thine is the doom of souls that cannot bring

Their highest courage to their highest fate.