Speak not harshly when reproving
Those from duty’s path who stray;
If we would reclaim the erring
Kindness must each action sway.
Speak not harshly to the wayward—
Win their confidence—their love;
They will feel how pure the motive
That hath led us to reprove.
Speak not harshly to the stranger,
Thou he come in humble guise;
Think how slight a thing would kindle
Gladness in a stranger’s eyes.
Speak not harshly to the felon,
Though like adamant his heart;
Touch one chord of fond affection,
And the scalding tear may start.
Speak not harshly to the orphan,
They have borne of grief their share;
Add not to their heavy burden,
Add not to corroding care.
Speak not harshly, was the precept
Which to man the Savior taught—
May that precept ever guide us—
Gentle words will cost us naught.