A Heap O' Livin', by Edgar A. Guest
Part 2 out of 3
Of ships that fly the summer sky,
And glorious deeds of strength and brain.
The call for help that rings through space
By which a vessel's course is stayed,
Thrills me far more than fields of gore,
Or heroes decked in golden braid --
I sing the warriors of trade.
'Tis better to have tried in vain,
Sincerely striving for a goal,
Than to have lived upon the plain
An idle and a timid soul.
'Tis better to have fought and spent
Your courage, missing all applause,
Than to have lived in smug content
And never ventured for a cause.
For he who tries and fails may be
The founder of a better day;
Though never his the victory,
From him shall others learn the way.
There's a heap of pent-up goodness in the yellow
And I sort o' like to linger round a berry patch
Oh, the Lord has set our table with a stock o'
things to eat
An' there's just enough o' bitter in the blend
to cut the sweet,
But I run the whole list over, an' it seems
somehow that I
Find the keenest sort o' pleasure in a chunk
o' raisin pie.
There are pies that start the water circulatin' in
There are pies that wear the flavor of the warm
an' sunny south;
Some with oriental spices spur the drowsy appe-
An' just fill a fellow's being with a thrill o'
But for downright solid goodness that comes
drippin' from the sky
There is nothing quite the equal of a chunk o'
I'm admittin' tastes are diff'runt, I'm not settin'
As the judge an' final critic of the good things
on the shelf.
I'm sort o' payin' tribute to a simple joy on
Sort o' feebly testifyin' to its lasting charm an'
An' I'll hold to this conclusion till it comes my
time to die,
That there's no dessert that's finer than a chunk
o' raisin pie.
Right must not live in idleness,
Nor dwell in smug content;
It must be strong, against the throng
Of foes, on evil bent.
Justice must not a weakling be
But it must guard its own,
And live each day, that none can say
Justice is overthrown.
Peace, the sweet glory of the world,
Faces a duty, too;
Death is her fate, leaves she one gate
For war to enter through.
THE READY ARTISTS
The green is in the meadow and the blue is in
And all of Nature's artists have their colors
With a few days bright with sunshine and a
few nights free from frost
They will start to splash their colors quite
regardless of the cost.
There's an artist waiting ready at each bleak
and dismal spot
To paint the flashing tulip or the meek forget-
May is lurking in the distance and her lap is
filled with flowers,
And the choicest of her blossoms very shortly
will be ours.
There is not a lane so dreary or a field so dark
But that soon will be resplendent with its little
touch of bloom.
There's an artist keen and eager to make beau-
tiful each scene
And remove with colors gorgeous every trace of
of what has been.
Oh, the world is now in mourning; round about
us all are spread
The ruins and the symbols of the winter that
But the bleak and barren picture very shortly
now will pass,
For the halls of life are ready for their velvet
rugs of grass;
And the painters now are waiting with their
magic to replace
This dullness with a beauty that no mortal hand
The green is in the meadow and the blue is in
The chill of death is passing, life will shortly
greet the eye.
We shall revel soon in colors only Nature's
And the humblest plant that's sleeping unto
beauty shall awake.
For there's not a leaf forgotten, not a twig
And the tiniest of pansies shall the royal purple
THE HAPPIEST DAYS
You do not know it, little man,
In your summer coat of tan
And your legs bereft of hose
And your peeling, sunburned nose,
With a stone bruise on your toe,
Almost limping as you go
Running on your way to play
Through another summer day,
Friend of birds and streams and trees,
That your happiest days are these.
Little do you think to-day,
As you hurry to your play,
That a lot of us, grown old
In the chase for fame and gold,
Watch you as you pass along
Gayly whistling bits of song,
And in envy sit and dream
Of a long-neglected stream,
Where long buried are the joys
We possessed when we were boys.
Little chap, you cannot guess
All your sum of happiness;
Little value do you place
On your sunburned freckled face;
And if some shrewd fairy came
Offering sums of gold and fame
For your summer days of play,
You would barter them away
And believe that you had made
There and then a clever trade.
Time was we were boys like you,
Bare of foot and sunburned, too,
And, like you, we never guessed
All the riches we possessed;
We'd have traded them back then
For the hollow joys of men;
We'd have given them all to be
Rich and wise and forty-three.
For life never teaches boys
Just how precious are their joys.
Youth has fled and we are old.
Some of us have fame and gold;
Some of us are sorely scarred,
For the way of age is hard;
And we envy, little man,
You your splendid coat of tan,
Envy you your treasures rare,
Hours of joy beyond compare;
For we know, by teaching stern,
All that some day you must learn.
THE REAL BAIT
To gentle ways I am inclined;
I have no wish to kill.
To creatures dumb I would be kind;
I like them all, but still
Right now I think I'd like to be
Beside some rippling brook,
And grab a worm I'd brought with me
And slip him on a hook.
I'd like to put my hand once more
Into a rusty can
And turn those squirmy creatures o'er
Like nuggets in a pan;
And for a big one, once again,
With eager eyes I'd look,
As did a boy I knew, and then
Impale it on a hook.
I've had my share of fishing joy,
I've fished with patent bait,
With chub and minnow, but the boy
Is lord of sport's estate.
And no such pleasure comes to man
So rare as when he took
A worm from a tomato can
And slipped it on a hook.
I'd like to gaze with glowing eyes
Upon that precious bait,
To view each fat worm as a prize
To be accounted great.
And though I've passed from boyhood's term,
And opened age's book,
I still would like to put a worm
That wriggled on a hook.
Who does his task from day to day
And meets whatever comes his way,
Believing God has willed it so,
Has found real greatness here below.
Who guards his post, no matter where,
Believing God must need him there,
Although but lowly toil it be,
Has risen to nobility.
For great and low there's but one test:
'Tis that each man shall do his best.
Who works with all the strength he can
Shall never die in debt to man.
The world's too busy now to pause
To listen to a whiner's cause;
It has no time to stop and pet
The sulker in a peevish fret,
Who wails he'll neither work nor play
Because things haven't gone his way.
The world keeps plodding right along
And gives its favors right or wrong
To all who have the grit to work
Regardless of the fool or shirk.
The world says this to every man:
"Go out and do the best you can."
The world's too busy to implore
The beaten one to try once more;
'Twill help him if he wants to rise,
And boost him if he bravely tries,
And shows determination grim;
But it won't stop to baby him.
The world is occupied with men
Who fall but quickly rise again;
But those who whine because they're hit
And step aside to sulk a bit
Are doomed some day to wake and find
The world has left them far behind.
Not for the sake of the gold,
Not for the sake of the fame,
Not for the prize would I hold
Any ambition or aim:
I would be brave and be true
Just for the good I can do.
I would be useful on earth,
Serving some purpose or cause,
Doing some labor of worth,
Giving no thought to applause.
Thinking less of the gold or the fame
Than the joy and the thrill of the game.
Medals their brightness may lose,
Fame be forgotten or fade,
Any reward we may choose
Leaves the account still unpaid.
But little real happiness lies
In fighting alone for a prize.
Give me the thrill of the task,
The joy of the battle and strife,
Of being of use, and I'll ask
No greater reward from this life.
Better than fame or applause
Is striving to further a cause.
I've told about the times that Ma can't find
And how we have to hustle round for it to help
But there's another care we know that often
comes our way,
I guess it happens easily a dozen times a day.
It starts when first the postman through the
door a letter passes,
And Ma says: "Goodness gracious me! Wher-
ever are my glasses?"
We hunt 'em on the mantelpiece an' by the
Until Ma says: "Now, children, stop, an' give
me time to think
Just when it was I used 'em last an' just
Yes, now I know -- the dining room. I'm sure
you'll find 'em there."
We even look behind the clock, we busy boys
Until somebody runs across Ma's missing pair of
We've found 'em in the Bible, an' we've found
'em in the flour,
We've found 'em in the sugar bowl, an' once
we looked an hour
Before we came across 'em in the padding of
An' many a time we've found 'em in the topknot
of her hair.
It's a search that ruins order an' the home com-
For there's no place where you may not find
poor Ma's elusive specs.
But we're mighty glad, I tell you, that the
duty's ours to do,
An' we hope to hunt those glasses till our time
of life is through;
It's a little bit of service that is joyous in its
It's a task that calls us daily an' we hope it
Rich or poor, the saddest mortals of all the
Are the ones who have no mother dear to lose
her reading glasses.
THE PRINCESS PAT'S
_Written when the Canadian regi-
ment known as the "Princess Pat's,"
left for the front._
A touch of the plain and the prairie,
A bit of the Motherland, too;
A strain of the fur-trapper wary,
A blend of the old and the new;
A bit of the pioneer splendor
That opened the wilderness' flats,
A touch of the home-lover, tender,
You'll find in the boys they call Pat's.
The glory and grace of the maple,
The strength that is born of the wheat,
The pride of a stock that is staple,
The bronze of a midsummer heat;
A blending of wisdom and daring,
The best of a new land, and that's
The regiment gallantly bearing
The neat little title of Pat's.
A bit of the man who has neighbored
With mountains and forests and streams,
A touch of the man who has labored
To model and fashion his dreams;
The strength of an age of clean living,
Of right-minded fatherly chats,
The best that a land could be giving
Is there in the breasts of the Pat's.
BE A FRIEND
Be a friend. You don't need money;
Just a disposition sunny;
Just the wish to help another
Get along some way or other;
Just a kindly hand extended
Out to one who's unbefriended;
Just the will to give or lend,
This will make you someone's friend.
Be a friend. You don't need glory.
Friendship is a simple story.
Pass by trifling errors blindly,
Gaze on honest effort kindly,
Cheer the youth who's bravely trying,
Pity him who's sadly sighing;
Just a little labor spend
On the duties of a friend.
Be a friend. The pay is bigger
(Though not written by a figure)
Than is earned by people clever
In what's merely self-endeavor.
You'll have friends instead of neighbors
For the profits of your labors;
You'll be richer in the end
Than a prince, if you're a friend.
Thankful for the glory of the old Red, White
For the spirit of America that still is staunch
For the laughter of our children and the sun-
light in their eyes,
And the joy of radiant mothers and their even-
And thankful that our harvests wear no taint
of blood to-day,
But were sown and reaped by toilers who were
light of heart and gay.
Thankful for the riches that are ours to claim
The joy of honest labor and the boon of happy
For each little family circle where there is no
Save where God has sent the sorrow for the
loving hearts to bear;
And thankful for the loyal souls and brave
hearts of the past
Who builded that contentment should be with
us to the last.
Thankful for the plenty that our peaceful land
For the rising sun that beckons every man to
do his best,
For the goal that lies before him and the promise
when he sows
That his hand shall reap the harvest, undisturbed
by cruel foes;
For the flaming torch of justice, symbolizing
as it burns:
Here none may rob the toiler of the prize he
To-day our thanks we're giving for the riches
that are ours,
For the red fruits of the orchards and the per-
fume of the flowers,
For our homes with laughter ringing and our
hearthfires blazing bright,
For our land of peace and plenty and our land
of truth and right;
And we're thankful for the glory of the old
Red, White and Blue,
For the spirit of our fathers and a manhood
that is true.
MA AND HER CHECK BOOK
Ma has a dandy little book that's full of narrow
An' when she wants to pay a bill a page from
it she rips;
She just writes in the dollars and the cents and
signs her name
An' that's as good as money, though it doesn't
look the same.
When she wants another bonnet or some
feathers for her neck,
She promptly goes an' gets 'em, an' she writes
I don't just understand it, but I know she
Pa says to her at supper: "Well! You're
Ma's not a business woman, she is much too
kind of heart
To squabble over pennies or to play a selfish
An' when someone asks for money, she's not
one to stop an' think
Of a little piece of paper an' the cost of pen
She just tells him very sweetly if he'll only
wait a bit
An' be seated in the parlor, she will write a
check for it.
She can write one out for twenty just as easily
An' forgets that Pa may grumble: "Well,
you're overdrawn again!"
Pa says it looks as though he'll have to start in
To gather in the money for the checks that
He says that every morning when he's sum-
moned to the phone,
He's afraid the bank is calling to make mother's
He tells his friends if ever anything our fortune
They can trace it to the moment mother started
He's got so that he trembles when he sees her
An' he mutters: "Do be careful! You'll be
THE FISHING CURE
There's nothing that builds up a toil-weary soul
Like a day on a stream,
Back on the banks of the old fishing hole
Where a fellow can dream.
There's nothing so good for a man as to flee
From the city and lie
Full length in the shade of a whispering tree
And gaze at the sky.
Out there where the strife and the greed are
And the struggle for pelf,
A man can get rid of each taint and each spot
And clean up himself;
He can be what he wanted to be when a boy,
If only in dreams;
And revel once more in the depths of a joy
That's as real as it seems.
The things that he hates never follow him
The jar of the street,
The rivalries petty, the struggling unfair --
For the open is sweet.
In purity's realm he can rest and be clean,
Be he humble or great,
And as peaceful his soul may become as the
That his eyes contemplate.
It is good for the world that men hunger to go
To the banks of a stream,
And weary of sham and of pomp and of show
They have somewhere to dream.
For this life would be dreary and sordid and base
Did they not now and then
Seek refreshment and calm in God's wide, open
And come back to be men.
THE HAPPY SLOW THINKER
Full many a time a thought has come
That had a bitter meaning in it.
And in the conversation's hum
I lost it ere I could begin it.
I've had it on my tongue to spring
Some poisoned quip that I thought clever;
Then something happened and the sting
Unuttered went, and died forever.
A lot of bitter thoughts I've had
To silence fellows and to flay 'em,
But next day always I've been glad
I wasn't quick enough to say 'em.
The kids are out-of-doors once more;
The heavy leggins that they wore,
The winter caps that covered ears
Are put away, and no more tears
Are shed because they cannot go
Until they're bundled up just so.
No more she wonders when they're gone
If they have put their rubbers on;
No longer are they hourly told
To guard themselves against a cold;
Bareheaded now they romp and run
Warmed only by the kindly sun.
She's put their heavy clothes away
And turned the children out to play,
And all the morning long they race
Like madcaps round about the place.
The robins on the fences sing
A gayer song of welcoming,
And seems as though they had a share
In all the fun they're having there.
The wrens and sparrows twitter, too,
A louder and a noisier crew,
As though it pleased them all to see
The youngsters out of doors and free.
Outdoors they scamper to their play
With merry din the livelong day,
And hungrily they jostle in
The favor of the maid to win;
Then, armed with cookies or with cake,
Their way into the yard they make,
And every feathered playmate comes
To gather up his share of crumbs.
The finest garden that I know
Is one where little children grow,
Where cheeks turn brown and eyes are bright,
And all is laughter and delight.
Oh, you may brag of gardens fine,
But let the children race in mine;
And let the roses, white and red,
Make gay the ground whereon they tread.
And who for bloom perfection seeks,
Should mark the color on their cheeks;
No music that the robin spouts
Is equal to their merry shouts;
There is no foliage to compare
With youngsters' sun-kissed, tousled hair:
Spring's greatest joy beyond a doubt
Is when it brings the children out.
You can talk about your music, and your
And your phonographic record that Caruso's
But there isn't any music that such wondrous
joy can bring
Like the concert when the kiddies and their
mother start to sing.
When the supper time is over, then the mother
starts to play
Some simple little ditty, and our concert's under
And I'm happier and richer than a millionaire
When I listen to the kiddies and their mother
as they sing.
There's a sweetness most appealing in the trill-
ing of their notes:
It is innocence that's pouring from their little
And I gaze at them enraptured, for my joy's
a real thing
Every evening when the kiddies and their mother
start to sing.
THE BUMPS AND BRUISES DOCTOR
I'm the bumps and bruises doctor;
I'm the expert that they seek
When their rough and tumble playing
Leaves a scar on leg or cheek.
I'm the rapid, certain curer
For the wounds of every fall;
I'm the pain eradicator;
I can always heal them all.
Bumps on little people's foreheads
I can quickly smooth away;
I take splinters out of fingers
Without very much delay.
Little sorrows I can banish
With the magic of my touch;
I can fix a bruise that's dreadful
So it isn't hurting much.
I'm the bumps and bruises doctor,
And I answer every call,
And my fee is very simple,
Just a kiss, and that is all.
And I'm sitting here and wishing
In the years that are to be,
When they face life's real troubles
That they'll bring them all to me.
WHEN PA COUNTS
Pa's not so very big or brave; he can't lift
weights like Uncle Jim;
His hands are soft like little girls'; most anyone
could wallop him.
Ma weighs a whole lot more than Pa. When
they go swimming, she could stay
Out in the river all day long, but Pa gets frozen
But when the thunder starts to roll, an' lightnin'
spits, Ma says, "Oh, dear,
I'm sure we'll all of us be killed. I only wish
your Pa was here."
Pa's cheeks are thin an' kinder pale; he couldn't
rough it worth a cent.
He couldn't stand the hike we had the day the
Boy Scouts camping went.
He has to hire a man to dig the garden, coz his
back gets lame,
An' he'd be crippled for a week, if he should
play a baseball game.
But when a thunder storm comes up, Ma sits an'
shivers in the gloam
An' every time the thunder rolls, she says: "I
wish your Pa was home."
I don't know just what Pa could do if he were
home, he seems so frail,
But every time the skies grow black I notice Ma
gets rather pale.
An' when she's called us children in, an' locked
the windows an' the doors,
She jumps at every lightnin' flash an' trembles
when the thunder roars.
An' when the baby starts to cry, she wrings her
hands an' says: "Oh, dear,
It's terrible! It's terrible! I only wish your
Pa was here."
A man must earn his hour of peace,
Must pay for it with hours of strife and care,
Must win by toil the evening's sweet release,
The rest that may be portioned for his share;
The idler never knows it, never can.
Peace is the glory ever of a man.
A man must win contentment for his soul,
Must battle for it bravely day by day;
The peace he seeks is not a near-by goal;
To claim it he must tread a rugged way.
The shirker never knows a tranquil breast;
Peace but rewards the man who does his best.
NO PLACE TO GO
The happiest nights
I ever know
Are those when I've
No place to go,
And the missus says
When the day is through:
"To-night we haven't
A thing to do."
Oh, the joy of it,
And the peace untold
Of sitting 'round
In my slippers old,
With my pipe and book
In my easy chair,
Knowing I needn't
My evening meal
Nor force the smiles
That I do not feel,
But can grab a book
From a near-by shelf,
And drop all sham
And be myself.
Oh, the charm of it
And the comfort rare;
Nothing on earth
With it can compare;
And I'm sorry for him
Who doesn't know
The joy of having
No place to go.
No one is beat till he quits,
No one is through till he stops,
No matter how hard Failure hits,
No matter how often he drops,
A fellow's not down till he lies
In the dust and refuses to rise.
Fate can slam him and bang him around,
And batter his frame till he's sore,
But she never can say that he's downed
While he bobs up serenely for more.
A fellow's not dead till he dies,
Nor beat till no longer he tries.
A PATRIOTIC WISH
I'd like to be the sort of man the flag could
I'd like to be the sort of man it cannot live
I'd like to be the type of man
That really is American:
The head-erect and shoulders-square,
Clean-minded fellow, just and fair,
That all men picture when they see
The glorious banner of the free.
I'd like to be the sort of man the flag now
The kind of man we really want the flag to
The loyal brother to a trust,
The big, unselfish soul and just,
The friend of every man oppressed,
The strong support of all that's best,
The sturdy chap the banner's meant,
Where'er it flies, to represent.
I'd like to be the sort of man the flag's supposed
The man that all in fancy see wherever it is
The chap that's ready for a fight
Whenever there's a wrong to right,
The friend in every time of need,
The doer of the daring deed,
The clean and generous handed man
That is a real American.
THE PRICE OF JOY
You don't begrudge the labor when the roses
start to bloom;
You don't recall the dreary days that won you
You don't recall a single care
You spent upon the garden there;
And all the toil
Of tilling soil
Is quite forgot the day the first
Pink rosebuds into beauty burst.
You don't begrudge the trials grim when joy
has come to you;
You don't recall the dreary days when all your
skies are blue;
And though you've trod a weary mile
The ache of it was all worth while;
And all the stings
And bitter flings
Are wiped away upon the day
Success comes dancing down the way.
THE THINGS THAT MAKE A SOLDIER
The things that make a soldier great and send
him out to die,
To face the flaming cannon's mouth nor ever
Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips
The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,
The grass plot where his children play, the roses
on the wall:
'Tis these that make a soldier great. He's fight-
ing for them all.
'Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make
a soldier brave;
'Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may
For soldiers never fight so well on land or on
As when behind the cause they see the little
place called home.
Endanger but that humble street whereon his
You make a soldier of the man who never bore
What is it through the battle smoke the valiant
The little garden far away, the budding apple
The little patch of ground back there, the chil-
dren at their play,
Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church
The golden thread of courage isn't linked to
But to the spot, where'er it be -- the humblest spot
And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely
And homesick soldiers far away know spring
is in the air;
The tulips come to bloom again, the grass
once more is green,
And every man can see the spot where all his
joys have been.
He sees his children smile at him, he hears the
And only death can stop him now -- he's fight-
ing for them all.
THE JOY OF A DOG
Ma says no, it's too much care
An' it will scatter germs an' hair,
An' it's a nuisance through and through.
An' barks when you don't want it to;
An' carries dirt from off the street,
An' tracks the carpets with its feet.
But it's a sign he's growin' up
When he is longin' for a pup.
Most every night he comes to me
An' climbs a-straddle of my knee
An' starts to fondle me an' pet,
Then asks me if I've found one yet.
An' ma says: "Now don't tell him yes;
You know they make an awful mess."
An' starts their faults to catalogue.
But every boy should have a dog.
An' some night when he comes to me,
Deep in my pocket there will be
The pup he's hungry to possess
Or else I sadly miss my guess.
For I remember all the joy
A dog meant to a little boy
Who loved it in the long ago,
The joy that's now his right to know.
It's tough when you are homesick in a strange
and distant place;
It's anguish when you're hungry for an old-
And yearning for the good folks and the joys
you used to know,
When you're miles away from friendship, is a
bitter sort of woe.
But it's tougher, let me tell you, and a stiffer
To see them through the window, and to know
you can't go in.
Oh, I never knew the meaning of that red sign
on the door,
Never really understood it, never thought of it
But I'll never see another since they've tacked
one up on mine
But I'll think about the father that is barred
from all that's fine.
And I'll think about the mother who is prisoner
So her little son or daughter shall not miss a
And I'll share a fellow feeling with the saddest
of my kin,
The dad beside the gateway of the home he
can't go in.
Oh, we laugh and joke together and the mother
tries to be
Brave and sunny in her prison, and she thinks
she's fooling me;
And I do my bravest smiling and I feign a
In the hope she won't discover that I'm bur-
dened down with care.
But it's only empty laughter, and there's nothing
in the grin
When you're talking through the window of the
home you can't go in.
THE PERFECT DINNER TABLE
A table cloth that's slightly soiled
Where greasy little hands have toiled;
The napkins kept in silver rings,
And only ordinary things
From which to eat, a simple fare,
And just the wife and kiddies there,
And while I serve, the clatter glad
Of little girl and little lad
Who have so very much to say
About the happenings of the day.
Four big round eyes that dance with glee,
Forever flashing joys at me,
Two little tongues that race and run
To tell of troubles and of fun;
The mother with a patient smile
Who knows that she must wait awhile
Before she'll get a chance to say
What she's discovered through the day.
She steps aside for girl and lad
Who have so much to tell their dad.
Our manners may not be the best;
Perhaps our elbows often rest
Upon the table, and at times
That very worst of dinner crimes,
That very shameful act and rude
Of speaking ere you've downed your food,
Too frequently, I fear, is done,
So fast the little voices run.
Yet why should table manners stay
Those tongues that have so much to say?
At many a table I have been
Where wealth and luxury were seen,
And I have dined in halls of pride
Where all the guests were dignified;
But when it comes to pleasure rare
The perfect dinner table's where
No stranger's face is ever known:
The dinner hour we spend alone,
When little girl and little lad
Run riot telling things to dad.
He was going to be all that a mortal should be
No one should be kinder or braver than he
A friend who was troubled and weary he knew,
Who'd be glad of a lift and who needed it, too;
On him he would call and see what he could do
Each morning he stacked up the letters he'd
And thought of the folks he would fill with
It was too bad, indeed, he was busy to-day,
And hadn't a minute to stop on his way;
More time he would have to give others, he'd
The greatest of workers this man would have
The world would have known him, had he ever
But the fact is he died and he faded from view,
And all that he left here when living was
Was a mountain of things he intended to do
God grant me kindly thought
And patience through the day,
And in the things I've wrought
Let no man living say
That hate's grim mark has stained
What little joy I've gained.
God keep my nature sweet,
Teach me to bear a blow,
Disaster and defeat,
And no resentment show.
If failure must be mine
Sustain this soul of mine.
God grant me strength to face
Undaunted day or night;
To stoop to no disgrace
To win my little fight;
Let me be, when it is o'er,
As manly as before.
TO THE LADY IN THE ELECTRIC
Lady in the show case carriage,
Do not think that I'm a bear;
Not for worlds would I disparage
One so gracious and so fair;
Do not think that I am blind to
One who has a smile seraphic;
You I'd never be unkind to,
But you are impeding traffic.
If I had some way of knowing
What you are about to do,
Just exactly where you're going,
If I could depend on you,
I could keep my engine churning,
Travel on and never mind you.
Lady, when you think of turning,
Why not signal us behind you?
Lady, free from care and worry,
Riding in your plate-glass car,
Some of us are in a hurry;
Some of us must travel far.
I, myself, am eager, very,
To be journeying on my way;
Lady, is it necessary
To monopolize the highway?
Lady, at the handle, steering,
Why not keep a course that's straight?
Know you not that wildly veering
As you do, is tempting fate?
Do not think my horn I'm blowing
Just on purpose to harass you,
It is just a signal showing
That I'd safely like to pass you.
Lady, there are times a duty
Must be done, however saddening;
It is hard to tell a beauty
That she's very often maddening.
And I would not now be saying
Harsh and cruel words to fuss you,
But when traffic you're delaying
You are forcing men to cuss you.
THE MAN WHO COULDN'T SAVE
He spent what he made, or he gave it away,
Tried to save money, and would for a day,
Started a bank-account time an' again,
Got a hundred or so for a nest egg, an' then
Some fellow that needed it more than he did,
Who was down on his luck, with a sick wife
Came along an' he wasted no time till he went
An' drew out the coin that for saving was
They say he died poor, and I guess that is so:
To pile up a fortune he hadn't a show;
He worked all the time and good money he made,
Was known as an excellent man at his trade.
But he saw too much, heard too much, felt too
To save anything by the end of the year,
An' the shabbiest wreck the Lord ever let live
Could get money from him if he had it to give.
I've seen him slip dimes to the bums on the street
Who told him they hungered for something to
An' though I remarked they were going for
He'd say: "Mebbe so. But I'd just hate to
That fellow was hungry an' I'd passed him by;
I'd rather be fooled twenty times by a lie
Than wonder if one of 'em I wouldn't feed
Had told me the truth an' was really in need."
Never stinted his family out of a thing:
They had everything that his money could bring;
Said he'd rather be broke and just know they
Than rich, with them pining an' wishing they had
Some of the pleasures his money would buy;
Said he never could look a bank book in the eye
If he knew it had grown on the pleasures and
That he'd robbed from his wife and his girls
and his boys.
Queer sort of notion he had, I confess,
Yet many a rich man on earth is mourned less.
All who had known him came back to his side
To honor his name on the day that he died.
Didn't leave much in the bank, it is true,
But did leave a fortune in people who knew
The big heart of him, an' I'm willing to swear
That to-day he is one of the richest up there.
"When shall I be a man?" he said,
As I was putting him to bed.
"How many years will have to be
Before Time makes a man of me?
And will I be a man when I
Am grown up big? I heaved a sigh,
Because it called for careful thought
To give the answer that he sought.
And so I sat him on my knee,
And said to him: "A man you'll be
When you have learned that honor brings
More joy than all the crowns of kings;
That it is better to be true
To all who know and trust in you
Than all the gold of earth to gain
If winning it shall leave a stain.
"When you can fight for victory sweet,
Yet bravely swallow down defeat,
And cling to hope and keep the right,
Nor use deceit instead of might;
When you are kind and brave and clean,
And fair to all and never mean;
When there is good in all you plan,
That day, my boy, you'll be a man.
"Some of us learn this truth too late;
That years alone can't make us great;
That many who are three-score, ten
Have fallen short of being men,
Because in selfishness they fought
And toiled without refining thought;
And whether wrong or whether right
They lived but for their own delight.
"When you have learned that you must hold
Your honor dearer far than gold;
That no ill-gotten wealth or fame
Can pay you for your tarnished name;
And when in all you say or do
Of others you're considerate, too,
Content to do the best you can
By such a creed, you'll be a man."
FATHER AND SON
Be more than his dad,
Be a chum to the lad;
Be a part of his life
Every hour of the day;
Find time to talk with him,
Take time to walk with him,
Share in his studies
And share in his play;
Take him to places,
To ball games and races,
Teach him the things
That you want him to know;
Don't live apart from him,
Don't keep your heart from him,
Be his best comrade,
He's needing you so!
Never neglect him,
Though young, still respect him,
Hear his opinions
With patience and pride;
Show him his error,
But be not a terror,
Grim-visaged and fearful,
When he's at your side.
Know what his thoughts are,
Know what his sports are,
Know all his playmates,
It's easy to learn to;
Be such a father
That when troubles gather
You'll be the first one
For counsel, he'll turn to.
You can inspire him
With courage, and fire him
Hot with ambition
For deeds that are good;
He'll not betray you
Nor illy repay you,
If you have taught him
The things that you should.
Father and son
Must in all things be one --
Partners in trouble
And comrades in joy.
More than a dad
Was the best pal you had;
Be such a chum
As you knew, to your boy.
THE JUNE COUPLE
She is fair to see and sweet,
Dainty from her head to feet,
Modest, as her blushing shows,
Happy, as her smiles disclose,
And the young man at her side
Nervously attempts to hide
Underneath a visage grim
That the fuss is bothering him.
Pause a moment, happy pair!
This is not the station where
Romance ends, and wooing stops
And the charm from courtship drops;
This is but the outward gate
Where the souls of mortals mate,
But the border of the land
You must travel hand in hand.
You who come to marriage, bring
All your tenderness, and cling
Steadfastly to all the ways
That have marked your wooing days.
You are only starting out
On life's roadways, hedged about
Thick with roses and with tares,
Sweet delights and bitter cares.
Heretofore you've only played
At love's game, young man and maid;
Only known it at its best;
Now you'll have to face its test.
You must prove your love worth while,
Something time cannot defile,
Something neither care nor pain
Can destroy or mar or stain.
You are now about to show
Whether love is real or no;
Yonder down the lane of life
You will find, as man and wife,
Sorrows, disappointments, doubt,
Hope will almost flicker out;
But if rightly you are wed
Love will linger where you tread.
There are joys that you will share,
Joys to balance every care;
Arm in arm remain, and you
Will not fear the storms that brew,
If when you are sorest tried
You face your trials, side by side.
Now your wooing days are done,
And your loving years begun.
AT THE DOOR
He wiped his shoes before his door,
But ere he entered he did more;
'Twas not enough to cleanse his feet
Of dirt they'd gathered in the street;
He stood and dusted off his mind
And left all trace of care behind.
"In here I will not take," said he,
"The stains the day has brought to me.
"Beyond this door shall never go
The burdens that are mine to know;
The day is done, and here I leave
The petty things that vex and grieve;
What clings to me of hate and sin
To them I will not carry in;
Only the good shall go with me
For their devoted eyes to see.
"I will not burden them with cares,
Nor track the home with grim affairs;
I will not at my table sit
With soul unclean, and mind unfit;
Beyond this door I will not take
The outward signs of inward ache;
I will not take a dreary mind
Into this house for them to find."
He wiped his shoes before his door,
But paused to do a little more.
He dusted off the stains of strife,
The mud that's incident to life,
The blemishes of careless thought,
The traces of the fight he'd fought,
The selfish humors and the mean,
And when he entered he was clean.
To do your little bit of toil,
To play life's game with head erect;
To stoop to nothing that would soil
Your honor or your self-respect;
To win what gold and fame you can,
But first of all to be a man.
To know the bitter and the sweet,
The sunshine and the days of rain;
To meet both victory and defeat,
Nor boast too loudly nor complain;
To face whatever fates befall
And be a man throughout it all.
To seek success in honest strife,
But not to value it so much
That, winning it, you go through life
Stained by dishonor's scarlet touch.
What goal or dream you choose, pursue,
But be a man whate'er you do!
A BEAR STORY
There was a bear -- his name was Jim,
An' children weren't askeered of him,
An' he lived in a cave, where he
Was confortubbul as could be,
An' in that cave, so my Pa said,
Jim always kept a stock of bread
An' honey, so that he could treat
The boys an' girls along his street.
An' all that Jim could say was "Woof!"
An' give a grunt that went like "Soof!"
An' Pa says when his grunt went off
It sounded jus' like Grandpa's cough,
Or like our Jerry when he's mad
An' growls at peddler men that's bad.
While grown-ups were afraid of Jim,
Kids could do anything with him.
One day a little boy like me
That had a sister Marjorie,
Was walking through the woods, an' they
Heard something "woofing" down that way,
An' they was scared an' stood stock still
An' wished they had a gun to kill
Whatever 'twas, but little boys
Don't have no guns that make a noise.
An' soon the "woofing" closer grew,
An' then a bear came into view,
The biggest bear you ever saw --
Ma's muff was smaller than his paw.
He saw the children an' he said:
"I ain't a-goin' to kill you dead;
You needn't turn away an' run;
I'm only scarin' you for fun."
An' then he stood up just like those
Big bears in circuses an' shows,
An' danced a jig, an' rolled about
An' said "Woof! Woof!" which meant "Look
An' turned a somersault as slick
As any boy can do the trick.
Those children had been told of Jim
An' they decided it was him.
They stroked his nose when they got brave,
An' followed him into his cave,
An' Jim asked them if they liked honey,
They said they did. Said Jim: "That's funny.
I've asked a thousand boys or so
That question, an' not one's said no."
What happened then I cannot say
'Cause next I knew 'twas light as day.
AUTUMN AT THE ORCHARD
The sumac's flaming scarlet on the edges o' the
An' the pear trees are invitin' everyone t' come
Now the gorgeous tints of autumn are appearin'
Till it seems that you can almost see the Master
There's a solemn sort o' stillness that's pervadin'
Save the farewell songs to summer that the
feathered tenors sing,
An' you quite forget the city where disgruntled
folks are kickin'
Off yonder with the Pelletiers, when spies are
ripe for pickin'.
The Holsteins are a-posin' in a clearin' near a
Very dignified an' stately, just as though they
That they're lending to life's pictures just the
touch the Master needs,
An' they're preachin' more refinement than a lot
o' printed creeds.
The orchard's fairly groanin' with the gifts o'
God to man,
Just as though they meant to shame us who
have doubted once His plan.
Oh, there's somethin' most inspirin' to a soul in
need o' prickin'
Off yonder with the Pelletiers when spies are
ripe fer pickin'.
The frisky little Shetlands now are growin'
An' acquirin' silken mufflers of their own to
guard their throats;
An' a Russian wolf-hound puppy left its mother
An' a tinge o' sorrow touched us as we saw it
For the sight was full o' meanin', an' we knew,
when it had gone,
'Twas a symbol of the partin's that the years are
Oh, a feller must be better -- to his faith he can't
Off yonder with the Pelletiers when spies are ripe
The year is almost over, now at dusk the valleys
With the misty mantle chillin', that is hangin'
An' each mornin' sees the maples just a little
Than they were the night we left 'em, an' the
elms are browner burned.
An' a feller can't help feelin', an' I don't care
who it is,
That the mind that works such wonders has a
greater power than his.
Oh, I know that I'll remember till life's last few
sparks are flickin'
The lessons out at Pelletiers when spies were ripe
WHEN PA COMES HOME
When Pa comes home, I'm at the door,
An' then he grabs me off the floor
An' throws me up an' catches me
When I come down, an' then, says he:
"Well, how'd you get along to-day?
An' were you good, an' did you play,
An' keep right out of mamma's way?
An' how'd you get that awful bump
Above your eye? My, what a lump!
An' who spilled jelly on your shirt?
An' where'd you ever find the dirt
That's on your hands? And my! Oh, my!
I guess those eyes have had a cry,
They look so red. What was it, pray?
What has been happening here to-day?
An' then he drops his coat an' hat
Upon a chair, an' says: "What's that?
Who knocked that engine on its back
An' stepped upon that piece of track?"
An' then he takes me on his knee
An' says: "What's this that now I see?
Whatever can the matter be?
Who strewed those toys upon the floor,
An' left those things behind the door?
Who upset all those parlor chairs
An' threw those blocks upon the stairs?
I guess a cyclone called to-day
While I was workin' far away.
Who was it worried mamma so?
It can't be anyone I know."
An' then I laugh an' say: "It's me!
Me did most ever'thing you see.
Me got this bump the time me tripped.
An' here is where the jelly slipped
Right off my bread upon my shirt,
An' when me tumbled down it hurt.
That's how me got all over dirt.
Me threw those building blocks downstairs,
An' me upset the parlor chairs,
Coz when you're playin' train you've got
To move things 'round an awful lot."
An' then my Pa he kisses me
An' bounces me upon his knee
An' says: "Well, well, my little lad,
What glorious fun you must have had!"
Gentle hands that never weary toiling in love's
Eyes that seem forever cheery when our eyes
they chance to meet,
Tender, patient, brave, devoted, this is always
Could her worth in gold be quoted as you think
of her to-day?
There shall never be another quite so tender,
quite so kind
As the patient little mother; nowhere on this
earth you'll find
Her affection duplicated; none so proud if you
Could her worth be overstated? Not by any
words of mine.
Death stood near the hour she bore us, agony
was hers to know,
Yet she bravely faced it for us, smiling in her
time of woe;
Down the years how oft we've tried her, often
selfish, heedless, blind,
Yet with love alone to guide her she was never
Vain are all our tributes to her if in words
alone they dwell.
We must live the praises due her; there's no
other way to tell
Gentle mother that we love her. Would you say,
as you recall
All the patient service of her, you've been
worthy of it all?
You cannot gather every rose,
Nor every pleasure claim,
Nor bask in every breeze that blows,
Nor play in every game.
No millionaire could ever own
The world's supply of pearls,
And no man here has ever known
All of the pretty girls.
So take what joy may come your way,
And envy not your brothers;
Enjoy your share of fun each day,
And leave the rest for others.
A man doesn't whine at his losses,
A man doesn't whimper and fret,
Or rail at the weight of his crosses
And ask life to rear him a pet.
A man doesn't grudgingly labor
Or look upon toil as a blight;
A man doesn't sneer at his neighbor
Or sneak from a cause that is right.
A man doesn't sulk when another
Succeeds where his efforts have failed;
Doesn't keep all his praise for the brother
Whose glory is publicly hailed;
And pass by the weak and the humble
As though they were not of his clay;
A man doesn't ceaselessly grumble
When things are not going his way.
A man looks on woman as tender
And gentle, and stands at her side
At all times to guard and defend her,
And never to scorn or deride.
A man looks on life as a mission.
To serve, just so far as he can;
A man holds his noblest ambition
On earth is to live as a man.
I might not ever scale the mountain heights
Where all the great men stand in glory now;
I may not ever gain the world's delights
Or win a wreath of laurel for my brow;
I may not gain the victories that men
Are fighting for, nor do a thing to boast of;
I may not get a fortune here, but then,
The little that I have I'll make the most of.
I'll make my little home a palace fine,
My little patch of green a garden fair,
And I shall know each humble plant and vine
As rich men know their orchid blossoms rare.
My little home may not be much to see;
Its chimneys may not tower far above;
But it will be a mansion great to me,
For in its walls I'll keep a hoard of love.
I will not pass my modest pleasures by
To grasp at shadows of more splendid things,
Disdaining what of joyousness is nigh
Because I am denied the joy of kings.
But I will laugh and sing my way along,
I'll make the most of what is mine to-day,
And if I never rise above the throng,
I shall have lived a full life anyway.
Some folks I know, when friends drop in
To visit for awhile and chin,
Just lead them round the rooms and halls
And show them pictures on their walls,
And point to rugs and tapestries
The works of men across the seas;
Their loving cups they show with pride,
To eyes that soon are stretching wide
With wonder at the treasures rare
That have been bought and gathered there.
But when folks come to call on me,
I've no such things for them to see.
No picture on my walls is great;
I have no ancient family plate;
No tapestry of rare design
Or costly woven rugs are mine;
I have no loving cup to show,
Or strange and valued curio;
But if my treasures they would see,
I bid them softly follow me.
And then I lead them up the stairs
Through trains of cars and Teddy bears,
And to a little room we creep
Where both my youngsters lie asleep,
Close locked in one another's arms.
I let them gaze upon their charms,
I let them see the legs of brown
Curled up beneath a sleeping gown,
And whisper in my happiness:
"Behold the treasures I possess."
Life is a challenge to the bold,
It flings its gauntlet down
And bids us, if we seek for gold
And glory and renown,
To come and _take_ them from its store,
It will not meekly hand them o'er.
Life is a challenge all must meet,
And nobly must we dare;
Its gold is tawdry when we cheat,
Its fame a bitter snare
If it be stolen from life's clutch;
Men must be true to prosper much.
Life is a challenge and its laws
Are rigid ones and stern;
The splendid joy of real applause
Each man must nobly earn.
It makes us win its jewels rare,
But gives us paste, if we're unfair.
A TOAST TO HAPPINESS
To happiness I raise my glass,
The goal of every human,
The hope of every clan and class
And every man and woman.
The daydreams of the urchin there,
The sweet theme of the maiden's prayer,
The strong man's one ambition,
The sacred prize of mothers sweet,
The tramp of soldiers on the street
Have all the selfsame mission.
Life here is nothing more or less
Than just a quest for happiness.
Some seek it on the mountain top,
And some within a mine;
The widow in her notion shop
Expects its sun to shine.
The tramp that seeks new roads to fare,
Is one with king and millionaire
In this that each is groping
On different roads, in different ways,
To come to glad, contented days,
And shares the common hoping.
The sound of martial fife and drum
Is born of happiness to come.
Yet happiness is always here
Had we the eyes to see it;
No breast but holds a fund of cheer
Had man the will to free it.
'Tis there upon the mountain top,
Or in the widow's notion shop,
'Tis found in homes of sorrow;
'Tis woven in the memories
Of happier, brighter days than these,
The gift, not of to-morrow
But of to-day, and in our tears
Some touch of happiness appears.
'Tis not a joy that's born of wealth:
The poor man may possess it.
'Tis not alone the prize of health:
No sickness can repress it.
'Tis not the end of mortal strife,
The sunset of the day of life,
Or but the old should find it;
It is the bond twixt God and man,
The touch divine in all we plan,
And has the soul behind it.
And so this toast to happiness,
The seed of which we all possess.
It's guessing time at our house; every evening
We start guessing what old Santa's going to
leave us on our tree.
Everyone of us holds secrets that the others try
And that eyes and lips are plainly having trouble
And a little lip that quivered just a bit the other
Was a sad and startling warning that I mustn't
guess it right.
"Guess what you will get for Christmas!" is the
cry that starts the fun.
And I answer: "Give the letter with which the
Oh, the eyes that dance around me and the joy-
ous faces there
Keep me nightly guessing wildly: "Is it some-
thing I can wear?"
I implore them all to tell me in a frantic sort
And pretend that I am puzzled, just to keep them
Oh, the wise and knowing glances that across the
And the winks exchanged with mother, that they
think I never spy;
Oh, the whispered confidences that are poured
into her ear,
And the laughter gay that follows when I try
my best to hear!
Oh, the shouts of glad derision when I bet that
it's a cane,
And the merry answering chorus: "No, it's
not. Just guess again!"
It's guessing time at our house, and the fun is
And I wish somehow this contest of delight
could always last,
For the love that's in their faces and their laugh-
ter ringing clear
Is their dad's most precious present when the
Christmas time is near.
And soon as it is over, when the tree is bare
I shall start in looking forward to the time to
When I was young and frivolous and never
stopped to think,
When I was always doing wrong, or just upon
When I was just a lad of seven and eight and
nine and ten,
It seemed to me that every day I got in trouble
And strangers used to shake their heads and say
I was no good,
But father always stuck to me -- it seems he
I used to have to go to him 'most every night
The dreadful things that I had done to worry
folks that day.
I know I didn't mean to be a turmoil round the
And with the womenfolks about forever in dis-
To do the way they said I should, I tried the
best I could,
But though they scolded me a lot -- my father
He never seemed to think it queer that I should
risk my bones,
Or fight with other boys at times, or pelt a cat
An' when I'd break a window pane, it used to
make him sad,
But though the neighbors said I was, he never
thought me bad;
He never whipped me, as they used to say to me
That boys can't always do what's right -- it
seemed he understood.
Now there's that little chap of mine, just full of
life and fun,
Comes up to me with solemn face to tell the
bad he's done.
It's natural for any boy to be a roguish elf,
He hasn't time to stop and think and figure for
And though the womenfolks insist that I should
take a hand,
They've never been a boy themselves, and they
Some day I've got to go up there, and make a
And tell the Father of us all where I have fallen
And there will be a lot of wrong I never meant
A lot of smudges on my sheet that He will have
And little chance for heavenly bliss, up there,
will I command,
Unless the Father smiles and says: "My boy,
PEOPLE LIKED HIM
People liked him, not because
He was rich or known to fame;
He had never won applause
As a star in any game.
His was not a brilliant style,
His was not a forceful way,
But he had a gentle smile
And a kindly word to say.
Never arrogant or proud,
On he went with manner mild;
Never quarrelsome or loud,
Just as simple as a child;
Honest, patient, brave and true:
Thus he lived from day to day,
Doing what he found to do
In a cheerful sort of way.
Wasn't one to boast of gold
Or belittle it with sneers,
Didn't change from hot to cold,
Kept his friends throughout the years,
Sort of man you like to meet
Any time or any place.
There was always something sweet
And refreshing in his face.
Sort of man you'd like to be:
Balanced well and truly square;
Patient in adversity,
Generous when his skies were fair.
Never lied to friend or foe,
Never rash in word or deed,
Quick to come and slow to go
In a neighbor's time of need.
Never rose to wealth or fame,
Simply lived, and simply died,
But the passing of his name
Left a sorrow, far and wide.
Not for glory he'd attained,
Nor for what he had of pelf,
Were the friends that he had gained,
But for what he was himself.
WHEN FATHER SHOOK THE STOVE
'Twas not so many years ago,
Say, twenty-two or three,
When zero weather or below
Held many a thrill for me.
Then in my icy room I slept
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