The Torchbearer


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Author Unknown

The God of the great endeavor
gave me a torch to bear.
I lifted it high above me
in the dark and murky air.

Straightway with loud hosannas
the crowd acclaimed its light,
And followed me as I carried my torch
through the dark and starless night.

Til mad with peoples' praises
and drunken with vanity,
I forgot it was the torch that drew them
and fancied they followed me.

And my arm grew sore and weary
upholding the shining load,
And my tired feet went stumbling
over the hilly road.

I fell with the torch beneath me,
in a moment the flame was out.
But lo, from the throng a stripling
sprang forth with a mighty shout,

Caught up the torch as it smouldered
and lifted it high again,
Til fanned by the winds of heaven
it fired the souls of men.

As I lay alone in the darkness,
the feet of the trampling crowd,
Passed over and far beyond me,
their praises proclaimed aloud.

And I learned in the deepening shadow
this glorious verity,
'Tis the torch the people follow,
who ere the bearer be.

Quoted by Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone in the October 1983
General Conference. Ensign, November 1983, p. 39