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Perseverance

by Alice Cary

The boy who does a stroke, and stops—
Will ne’er a great man be;
’Tis the aggregate of single drops
That makes the sea the sea.

The mountain was not at its birth
A mountain, so to speak:
The little atoms of sand and earth
Have made its peak a peak.

Not all at once the morning streams
Its gold above the gray,
It takes a thousand little beams
To make the day the day

Not from the snow-drift, May awakes,
In purples, reds, and greens;
Spring's whole bright retinue it takes
To make her queen of queens.

Upon the orchard, rain must fall,
And soak from branch to root,
And blossoms bloom and fade withal,
Before the fruit is fruit.

The farmer needs must sow and till
And wait the wheaten head,
Then cradle, thresh, and go to mill,
Before his bread is bread.

Swift heels may get the early shout,
But, spite of all the din,
It is the patient holding out
That makes the winner win.

Make this your motto, then, at start,
’Twill help to smooth the way,
And steady up both hand and heart,—
“Rome wasn't built in a day!”