Must we not then with patience wait,
False to distinguish from sincere?
Or can we on another’s state
Pronounce, before the fruits appear?
Can we the witnesses receive
Who of their own perfection boast,
The fairest words as fruit receive?
The fairest words are leaves at most.
How shall we then the spirits prove?
Their actions with their words compare,
And wait—till humblest, meekest love
Their perfect nothingness declare:
But if the smallest spark of pride,
Or selfishness, break out at last,
Set the false witnesses aside;
Yet hold the truth for ever fast.