Conscience By Henry David Thoreau
Updated: Mar 15, 2021
I work in a very complex environment, with much pressure and drama. I do not like working with divas or manipulators, they abound. Success is too often measured by "results and numbers", not character. Character matters and our personal integrity and conscience drive it all. This poem says it quite plainly.
Conscience is instinct bred in the house, Feeling and Thinking propagate the sin By an unnatural breeding in and in. I say, Turn it out doors, Into the moors. I love a life whose plot is simple, And does not thicken with every pimple, A soul so sound no sickly conscience binds it, That makes the universe no worse than 't finds it. I love an earnest soul, Whose mighty joy and sorrow Are not drowned in a bowl, And brought to life to-morrow; That lives one tragedy, And not seventy; A conscience worth keeping; Laughing not weeping; A conscience wise and steady, And forever ready; Not changing with events, Dealing in compliments; A conscience exercised about Large things, where one may doubt. I love a soul not all of wood, Predestinated to be good, But true to the backbone Unto itself alone, And false to none; Born to its own affairs, Its own joys and own cares; By whom the work which God begun Is finished, and not undone; Taken up where he left off, Whether to worship or to scoff; If not good, why then evil, If not good god, good devil. Goodness! you hypocrite, come out of that, Live your life, do your work, then take your hat. I have no patience towards Such conscientious cowards. Give me simple laboring folk, Who love their work, Whose virtue is song To cheer God along.