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- Note: Typos in lyrics here were edited out to match the lyrics of an earlier publication.
1. O say, what is truth? ’Tis the fairest gem
That the riches of worlds can produce;
And priceless the value of truth will be when
The proud monarch’s costliest diadem
Is counted but dross and refuse.
2. Yes, say, what is truth? ’Tis the brightest prize
To which mortals or Gods can aspire:
Go search in the depths where it glittering lies,
Or ascend in pursuit to the loftiest skies;
’Tis an aim for the noblest desire.
3. The scepter may fall from the despot’s grasp.
When with wind of stern justice he copes,
But the pillar of truth will endure to the last,
And its firm rooted bulwarks outstand the rude blast,
And the wreck of the fell tyrant’s hopes.
4. Then say, what is truth? ’Tis the last and the first,
For the limits of time it steps o’er:
Tho’ the heavens depart, and the earth’s fountains burst,
Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,
Eternal, unchanged, evermore.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Improvement Association song book, 1887 (p. 66)