‘What is Good?’

“What is good?”
I asked in musing mood.
Order, said the law court;
Knowledge, said the school;
Truth, said the wise man;
Pleasure, said the fool;
Love, said the maiden;
Beauty, said the page;
Freedom, said the dreamer;
Home, said the sage;
Fame, said the soldier;
Equity, said the seer.
Then spoke my heart full sadly,
“The answer is not here.”
But then, from within my bosom,
Softly this I heard:
“Each heart holds the secret;
Kindness is the word.”

by John Boyle O’Reilly (1844-90)