Americans, you may give your goods to...
Americans, you may give your goods to feed the poor,
you may bestow great gifts to charity and you may tower high in philanthropy
but if you have not love, your charity means nothing.
You may even give your body to be burned and die, die the death of a martyr,
and your spilled blood may be a symbol of honor, for generations yet unborn,
and thousands may praise you as one of history's supreme heroes.
But even so, if you have not love, your blood is spilled in vain.
You must come to see that a man may be self-centered in his self-denial and self- righteous in his self-sacrifice.
His generosity may feed his ego, and his piety his pride.
Without love, benevolence becomes egotism and martyrdom becomes spiritual pride.
The greatest of all virtues is love.
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Submitted by Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by David Werner Amram (b. 1930), "Americans, you may give your goods to feed the poor", published 1974, first performed 1969 [bass, woodwind quintet, string quintet], from Three Songs for America, no. 2, New York, Edition Peters [ sung text checked 1 time]
Text added to the website: 2018-09-08.
Last modified: 2018-09-08 12:30:31
Line count: 11
Word count: 138
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