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Inspirational Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
  2. If— by Rudyard Kipling
  3. Prospice by Robert Browning
  4. A Man's a Man for A' That by Robert Burns
  5. Somebody Said it Couldn't Be Done by Edgar Albert Guest
  6. The Ant or Emmet by Isaac Watts
  7. The Way to Be Happy by Jane Taylor
  8. No Man is an Island by John Donne
  9. Amazing Grace by John Newton
  10. Possibilities by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  11. "I'll Try" by Anonymous
  12. My Past Which Is To Come by Amos Russel Wells
  13. Forth From Your Past! by Anonymous
  14. The Chambered Nautilus by Oliver Wendell Holmes
  15. Inalienable by Anonymous
  16. The Secret of It by Amos Russel Wells
  17. Brown's Vacation by Anonymous
  18. Seeds And Thoughts by Amos Russel Wells
  19. Just a Nail by Amos Russel Wells
  20. "A Dog's Life" by Anonymous
  21. Hold on a While by Amos Russel Wells
  22. Our Chariots by Anonymous
  23. The Swedish Wife by Henrietta Gould Rowe
  24. Purpose by Anonymous
  25. Neighbor Chickory by Anonymous
  26. The Voice by Hannah Flagg Gould
  27. Their Chance by Anonymous
  28. The Past by Emily Dickinson
  29. To venerate the simple days by Emily Dickinson
  30. Arnold von Winkelried by James Montgomery
  1. Keep A-Pluggin' Away by Laurence Dunbar
  2. Not They Who Soar by Laurence Dunbar
  3. A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  4. Give Them the Flowers Now by Leigh M. Hodges
  5. Trailing Arbutus by John Greenleaf Whittier
  6. The Sin of Omission by Margaret E. Sangster
  7. Small Beginnings by Charles Mackay
  8. Life Sculpture by George Washington Doane
  9. Be Strong by Maltbie Davenport Babcock
  10. The House by the Side of the Road by Sam Walter Foss
  11. Fraternity by William Henry Dawson
  12. John Curzon's Watch by Anonymous
  13. Fruition by Charles William Hubner
  14. The Weight of a Word by Kate Slaughter McKinney
  15. The One in Ten by Edgar A. Guest
  16. Life by Edgar A. Guest
  17. Mockery by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  18. His Other Chance by Edgar A. Guest
  19. The Best That You Can by Anonymous
  20. My Wage by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse
  21. Do Your Best by Kate Louise Wheeler
  22. The Value of Little Things by William Cutter
  23. The Present by Martha Waldron Blacker
  24. Measurement by Ella Hines Stratton
  25. Days by Annette Wynne
  26. Be the Best of Whatever You Are by Douglas Malloch
  27. Good Timber by Douglas Malloch
  28. Encouragement by Douglas Malloch
  29. So live your life by Tecumseh

Whatever you are, be a good one.

– Abraham Lincoln
  1. The Road Not Taken

    by Robert Frost

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    Then took the other, as just as fair,
    And having perhaps the better claim,
    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
    Though as for that the passing there
    Had worn them really about the same,

    And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

  2. If—

    by Rudyard Kipling

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

  3. Prospice

    by Robert Browning

    Fear death?—to feel the fog in my throat,
    The mist in my face,
    When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
    I am nearing the place,
    The power of the night, the press of the storm,
    The post of the foe;
    Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form,
    Yet the strong man must go:
    For the journey is done and the summit attained,
    And the barriers fall,
    Though a battle's to fight ere the guerdon be gained,
    The reward of it all.
    I was ever a fighter, so—one fight more,
    The best and the last!
    I would hate that death bandaged my eyes and forbore,
    And bade me creep past.
    No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers
    The heroes of old,
    Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's arrears
    Of pain, darkness and cold.
    For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,
    The black minute's at end,
    And the elements' rage, the fiend-voices that rave,
    Shall dwindle, shall blend,
    Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain,
    Then a light, then thy breast,
    O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,
    And with God be the rest!

  4. A Man's a Man for A' That

    by Robert Burns. Also know as "Is There for Honest Poverty"

    Is there for honesty poverty
    That hings his head, an' a' that;
    The coward slave — we pass him by,
    We dare be poor for a' that!
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    Our toils obscure an' a' that,
    The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
    The man's the gowd for a' that.

    What though on hamely fare we dine,
    Wear hoddin grey, an' a' that?
    Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine,
    A man's a man for a' that.
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    Their tinsel show, an' a' that,
    The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
    Is king o' men for a' that.

    Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord,
    Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
    Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
    He's but a coof for a' that.
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    His ribband, star, an' a' that,
    The man o' independent mind
    He looks an' laughs at a' that.

    A price can mak a belted knight,
    A marquise, duke, an' a' that;
    But an honest man's aboon his might,
    Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    Their dignities an' a' that,
    The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
    Are higher rank than a' that.

    Then let us pray that come it may,
    (As come it will for a' that,)
    That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
    Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
    For a' that, an' a' that,
    That man to man, the world o'er,
    Shall brithers be for a' that.

  5. Somebody Said it Couldn't Be Done

    by Edgar Albert Guest

    Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
    But he with a chuckle replied
    That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
    Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
    So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
    On his face. If he worried he hid it.
    He started to sing as he tackled the thing
    That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

    Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
    At least no one ever has done it;”
    But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
    And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
    With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
    Without any doubting or quiddit,
    He started to sing as he tackled the thing
    That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

    There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
    There are thousands to prophesy failure,
    There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
    The dangers that wait to assail you.
    But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
    Just take off your coat and go to it;
    Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
    That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

  6. The Ant or Emmet

    by Isaac Watts

    These Emmets, how little they are in our eyes!
    We tread them to dust, and a troop of them dies,
    Without our regard or concern:
    Yet, as wise as we are, if we went to their school,
    There's many a sluggard and many a fool
    Some lessons of wisdom might learn.

    They wear not their time out in sleeping or play,
    But gather up corn in a sunshiny day,
    And for winter they lay up their stores:
    They manage their work in such regular forms,
    One would think they foresaw all the frosts and the storms,
    And so brought their food withindoors.

    But I have less sense than a poor creeping Ant,
    If I take not due care for the things I shall want,
    Nor provide against dangers in time;
    When death or old age shall once stare in my face,
    What a wretch shall I be in the end of my days,
    If I trifle away all their prime!

    Now, now, while my strength and my youth are in bloom,
    Let me think what shall serve me when sickness shall come,
    And pray that my sins be forgiven.
    Let me read in good books, and believe, and obey;
    That, when death turns me out of this cottage of clay,
    I may dwell in a palace in heaven.

  7. The Way to Be Happy

    by Jane Taylor

    How pleasant it is at the end of the day,
    No follies to have to repent,
    But reflect on the past and be able to say,
    My time has been properly spent!

    When I’ve done all my business with patience and care,
    And been good, and obliging, and kind,
    I lie on my pillow and sleep away there,
    With a happy and peaceable mind.

    Instead of all this, if it must be confest,
    That I careless and idle have been,
    I lie down as usual, and go to my rest,
    But feel discontented within.

    Then as I dislike all the trouble I’ve had,
    In future I’ll try to prevent it,
    For I never am naughty without being sad,
    Or good—without being contented.

  8. No Man is an Island

    by John Donne

    No man is an island,
    Entire of itself,
    Every man is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main.
    If a clod be washed away by the sea,
    Europe is the less.
    As well as if a promontory were.
    As well as if a manor of thy friend's
    Or of thine own were:
    Any man's death diminishes me,
    Because I am involved in mankind,
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee.

  9. Amazing Grace

    by John Newton

    How pleasant it is at the end of the day,
    No follies to have to repent,

    But reflect on the past and be able to say,
    My time has been properly spent!

    When I’ve done all my business with patience and care,
    And been good, and obliging, and kind,
    I lie on my pillow and sleep away there,
    With a happy and peaceable mind.

    Instead of all this, if it must be confest,
    That I careless and idle have been,
    I lie down as usual, and go to my rest,
    But feel discontented within.

    Then as I dislike all the trouble I’ve had,
    In future I’ll try to prevent it,
    For I never am naughty without being sad,
    Or good—without being contented.

  10. Possibilities

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Where are the Poets, unto whom belong
    The Olympian heights; whose singing shafts were sent
    Straight to the mark, and not from bows half bent,
    But with the utmost tension of the thong?
    Where are the stately argosies of song,
    Whose rushing keels made music as they went
    Sailing in search of some new continent,
    With all sail set, and steady winds and strong?
    Perhaps there lives some dreamy boy, untaught
    In schools, some graduate of the field or street,
    Who shall become a master of the art,
    An admiral sailing the high seas of thought,
    Fearless and first, and steering with his fleet
    For lands not yet laid down in any chart.

  11. "I'll Try"

    by Anonymous

    "The others will laugh," said the Bugbear,
    "And ridicule you on the sly."
    "Never mind," said Jenny Endeavor,
    "I'll try."

    "You'll surely break down." said the Bugbear;
    "You know you are terribly shy."
    "Never mind," said Billy Endeavor,
    "I'll try."

    "It's really too hard," said the Bugbear;
    "You might as well venture to fly."
    "Never mind," said Susie Endeavor,
    "I'll try."

    "Just put the thing off," said the Bugbear.
    "And others the lack will supply."
    "I'll not," answered Tommy Endeavor,
    "I'll try."

  12. The Past

  13. My Past Which Is To Come.

    by Amos Russel Wells

    With cymbal's clang and tap of drums
    The brave Salvation Army comes,
    While hallelujah lass and lad
    Peal out their march-songs wild and glad.
    Behind them troops a motley throng,
    Led by the spirit-moving song,
    And swift the leader sweeps them all
    Into the rough Salvation hall.

    Pauseless, the eager hymn and prayer
    And exhortation beat the air,
    Till many a hardened heart is stirred
    By some bold, God-directed word.

    Now falls a hush. A voice well known,
    Though strangely softened in its tone.—
    A girl's voice, lately taught to win
    Its accents back from words of sin,
    Trembles in untried prayer, that flies,
    Rude-winged, straight upward to the skies.

    "O God, forgive my guilty past!"
    The low voice stammers at the last,—
    "And in the past which it to come,
    O Father, keep me!"

    How the dumb speak giant word's when Christ within
    Has loosed the dwarfing bands of sin!
    Full well she knew, poor penitent,
    The evil with her nature blent,
    She knew the guilty past would seek
    Her white, new future, frail and weak;
    And at Christ's feet her fear she cast;
    "Lord, save me from the coming past!"

    Well for us all to make our own
    The poor Salvation lassie's groan!
    Base habits, hated, half subdued;
    The evil plan; the action rude;
    White lies, grown black; the writhing thought;
    Weak worries, born of faith distraught,—
    All will return, or first or last.
    Lord, save us from that coming past!

  14. Forth From Your Past!

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Forth from your lowly Past! In humble wise
    Up to the highest heaven lift your eyes.
    No glories that the heroes ever knew
    But God has placed them waiting there for you.

    Forth from your evil Past! The shame and sin—
    Dare now to live as they had never been.
    In Jesus cleansed and in His sureness sure,
    Know that the years to come are sweet und pure.

    Forth from your troubled Past! How dark the days.
    How dreary and perplexed your wandering waya!
    Forget those fears and tears and scenes abhorred.
    And enter all the joyance of your Lord.

    Forth from your lonely Past! No comrade knew
    Your inner warfare for the good and true;
    But in the time to come till time shall end
    You shall not lack a comrade and a friend.

    Forth from your Past! 'Twas given you to build
    A Future from it all with blessings filled.
    Enter its open gate its liberal door,
    And live its happy lord for evermore.

  15. The Chambered Nautilus

    by Oliver Wendell Holmes

    This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
    Sails the unshadowed main,—
    The venturous bark that flings
    On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
    In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
    And coral reefs lie bare,
    Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

    Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
    Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
    And every chambered cell,
    Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
    As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
    Before thee lies revealed,—
    Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

    Year after year beheld the silent toil
    That spread his lustrous coil;
    Still, as the spiral grew,
    He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
    Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
    Built up its idle door,
    Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

    Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
    Child of the wandering sea,
    Cast from her lap, forlorn!
    From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
    Than ever Triton blew from wreathèd horn!
    While on mine ear it rings,
    Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—

    Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
    As the swift seasons roll!
    Leave thy low-vaulted past!
    Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
    Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
    Till thou at length art free,
    Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

  16. Inalienable

    by Amos R. Wells

    Two things are yours that no man's wealth can buy:
    The air, and time;
    And, having these, all fate you may defy,
    All summits climb.

    While you can draw the fresh and vital breath,
    And own the day,
    No enemy, not Hate, nor Fear, nor Death,
    May bring dismay.

    Breathe deeply! Use the minutes as they fly!
    Trust God in all!
    Thus will you live the life that cannot die,
    Nor ever fall.

  17. The Secret of It

    by Amos Russel Wells

    "Where does the clerk of the weather store
    The days that are sunny and fair?"
    "In your heart is a room with a close shut door
    And all of those days are there."

    "Where does the clerk of the weather keep
    The days that are dreary and blue?"
    "In a second room in your heart they sleep,
    And you have the keys of the two."

    "And why are my days so often, I pray,
    Filled full of clouds and of gloom?"
    "Because you go at the break of day
    And open the wrong heart-room."

  18. Seeds And Thoughts

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Who plants a seed, he little knows
    What warm arousing light is lit,
    What spring of living water flows,
    What forces leap to nurture it.

    Who plants a seed, what thought has he
    Of timid sprout, of leaflets young.
    Of sturdy trunk and branching tree,
    Of noble forest far outflung?

    What dream has he who plants a seed
    Of blossoms ravishing the air,
    Of shade that cools, of fruits that feed,
    Of agelong blessings hidden there?

    And he who plants the seed of thought,
    Some eager truth, some daring plan,
    Never he knows what he has wrought
    Of never-ending good to man.

    Through subtle channels winding swift
    The foodful currents gladly run,
    And all the heavens bring their gift
    Of tender breezes, rain, and sun.

    It feels the elemental fears,
    The frost the storm the barren skies;
    And yet throughout the growing years
    Its roots extend, its branches rise;

    Until, one knows not how or when,
    Through all the world the thought has spread,
    And myriads of grateful men
    Pluck from the branches overhead.

    Oh, happy he who plants a seed
    With promises of fruitage fraught;
    But his a happier, holier deed
    Who plants in human souls a thought.

  19. Brown's Vacation

    by Amos Russel Wells

    "I've had a vacation," said Timothy Brown;
    "A fine one, although I have not left the town.
    I merely vacated my worries and fears,
    And at once became younger by fairly five years.
    I vacated my ruts, and began to enjoy
    My regular, humdrum, but useful employ.
    I changed my whole outlook and vision of life,
    And made it a pastime instead of a strife.
    I've had a vacation, not vacant, a bore,
    But fuller and freer than ever before;
    The best of vacations for fat purse or lean,—
    A change of the seeing instead of the scene."

  20. Just a Nail

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Once a captain, homeward bound,
    In a startled moment found
    He was running on to land,
    And the shoals were close at hand:
    Sudden sight and sudden shout,
    And the ship was turned about.

    Steering by the compass, he
    Thought himself far out at sea;
    But the astonished captain learned
    That the needle had been turned
    By a nail some carpenter
    Heedless drove, and left it there.

    So with many a gallant ship
    On our life-long ocean trip;
    Ah, what fatal wreck has been
    Where a single tiny sin
    With its steady, sure control
    Turned the compass of the soul!

  21. "A Dog's Life"

    by Anonymous

    Yours a dog's life, do you moan?
    Courage, brother! cease to groan.
    Many men, as on they jog,
    Live much worse than any dog.

    Yours a dog's life? Then, my boy,
    It's a life crammed full of joy!—
    Merry breezes, meadows fair,
    Birds and brooks and sunny air.

    Dogs? why, dogs are never sad!
    See them capering like mad!
    See them frisk their jolly way
    Through the livelong laughing day!

    Dog's life? Then you'll never rust.
    Dog's life? Then you'll hope and trust;
    Then you'll say in jaunty glee,
    "Bones have been, and bones will be."

    Cheery, active, trusting, true,—
    There's a canine goal for you!
    Live a dog's life, if you can:
    You will be the better man!

  22. Hold on a While

    by Amos Russel Wells

    When all the sky is very black
    And all the earth is blue,
    And all the fiends are on your track
    And howling after you;

    When courage falls and hope decays
    And fair ambition dies,
    And all your dreamland is ablaze
    Beneath the ebon skies;

    When you would fain renounce the goal,
    Nor plod another mile,
    Oh, straighten up your drooping soul,
    And—just—hold on—a while!

    Hold on a while! the darkest night
    May bring the fairest day.
    Hold on a while! the good, the right,
    Will always find a way.

    Hold on! for is Jehovah dead?
    His love an empty song?
    Hold on! have heaven's armies fled
    Before the hosts of wrong?

    Hold on! for still some strength remains,
    Nor yield you till you must;
    A newer life may flood your veins;
    Born of a larger trust.

    A newer life—hold on for that!
    A lily from the mud!
    The greening peak of Ararat
    Emerging from the flood!

    The clouds are shattered by the sun;
    The earth is all aglow;
    Away the howling devils run,
    And back to hell they go!

    Hold on for that! Do what you can,
    Nor prove a craven elf;
    For heaven never helped a man
    Until he helped himself.

    And when your fondest hopes are dead
    And fate has ceased to smile.
    'Tis then it pays to lift your head
    And—just—hold on a-while.

  23. Our Chariots

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Not as the Hebrew prophet rose
    In flaming chariot to the sky
    Do we as our life journeys close
    Magnificently die

    No wind in rising currents whirled,
    No flying steeds of splendid fire,
    Lift us from out this jangling world
    Up to the heavenly choir.

    And yet the humblest sons of men
    May pass away from mortal view
    In chariots as grand to ken
    As that Elijah knew

    For thoughts of loving tenderness,
    And helpful deeds that never tire
    And words that soothe and cheer and bless,
    Are chariots of fire.

    To such a soul, as up it flies,
    With beams of heavenly glory lit.
    Elijah hastens down the skies
    To meet and welcome it.

  24. Purpose

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Deeply and long the sap must flow
    Ere the merest layer of elm can grow.

    Many a wave's recurrent shock
    Is needed to smooth the tiniest rock.

    Thousands of leaves must fade and fall
    To make the mold by the garden wall.

    Thus, as the patient seasons roll,
    Slowly is fashioned a human soul.

    Purpose and failure and purpose still,
    Steadily moved by a quiet will,—

    Layer on layer in sturdy way,
    Hardly seen the growth of a day,—

    Times of failure and fear and fall,
    But one strong tendency through it all,—

    God and purpose and sun by sun
    Reach the stars before they are done!

  25. Neighbor Chickory

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Where the stamping horses pass
    And the dust is in the grass,
    By the roadside bare and hot
    Gracing each unlovely spot
    Lo! before our weary eyes
    Shines the blue of summer skies

    Gleaming like an azure star
    Where the fiercest sunbeams are,
    Neighbor Chickory bestows
    Such a sense of cool repose,
    In the noon-tide's hottest glare
    It is always evening there.

    Oh, to learn the conquering grace
    Of that blossom's tender face!
    Thus victoriously may I
    Where the choking dust-clouds fly
    And life's clamors never cease
    Bring the cooling sense of peace.

  26. The Voice

    by Hannah Flagg Gould

    The voice—its melody touched the ear,
    As a sound we should look toward heaven, to hear;
    As the soft, rich light of the western sky,
    Where the sun went down, will meet the eye.
    And it made me think of a world afar,
    Above the sun, and the evening star—
    Of the odors of flowers that freight the air
    With the notes of the bright ones warbling there.

    Methinks, when the world looks void and dark—
    When the waves of trouble ingulf my bark—
    When the sky above me is black with wrath,
    And the lightning is all that illumes my path;
    While I set my feet but with doubt and dread;
    When the friend that I loved is false or dead;
    In fear, in sorrow, in pain or care,
    I would hear that voice poured out in prayer.

    When the storm is past, and the heavens look bright,
    While the clouds that I feared are dissolved in light—
    When I smoothly glide o'er a peaceful sea,
    With a breeze all fragrance and purity;
    When the friend that I chose is the true one still,
    Who adds to good, and who takes from ill;
    In every joy that may gild my days,
    I would hear that voice sent up in praise.

    It was tuned for a rare and holy gift;
    To pour in prayer, and in praise to lift;
    And through the ear, as it took control,
    And wrought its charm o'er the spell-bound soul,
    It came in a sound so sweet and deep,
    It could soothe the heart, though the eye must weep.
    But it was not made for the thoughtless mirth
    Whose light is a blaze from the chaff of earth!

  27. Their Chance

    by Amos Russel Wells

    On New Year's day you started in
    With heart of grace absolved from sin,
    With forward look, with purpose true,
    And all the world was fair to you.

    But soon the devil found a crack
    And pierced your armor, front or back;
    And soon, your conduct past excuse,
    You sadly cried, "Oh, what's the use?"

    Brother! the wheelings of the sun
    In endless hopeful circles run;
    They sweep serenely through the air,
    And you may start from anywhere.

    For common use we count the year
    From one sole point in its career;
    But you, adopt a lordly tone,
    And fix a year that's all your own!

    Adopt this very day and hour
    As genesis of hope and power.
    Forget the failures left behind,
    And on the future fix your mind.

    Break with the follies of the past!
    Master your weaknesses at last!
    Stiffen your muscles! Watch and pray!
    Stoutly begin a year to-day!

  28. The Past

    by Emily Dickinson

    The past is such a curious creature,
    To look her in the face
    A transport may reward us,
    Or a disgrace.

    Unarmed if any meet her,
    I charge him, fly!
    Her rusty ammunition
    Might yet reply!

  29. To venerate the simple days

    by Emily Dickinson

    To venerate the simple days
    Which lead the seasons by,
    Needs but to remember
    That from you or me
    They may take the trifle
    Termed mortality!

    To invest existence with a stately air,
    Needs but to remember
    That the acorn there
    Is the egg of forests
    For the upper air!

  30. Arnold von Winkelried

    Winkelried at Sempach
    Winkelried at Sempach
    by Konrad Grob
    by James Montgomery

    "Make way for liberty!" he cried,
    Make way for liberty, and died.
    In arms the Austrian phalanx stood,
    A living wall, a human wood,—
    A wall, where every conscious stone
    Seemed to its kindred thousands grown.
    A rampart all assaults to bear,
    Till time to dust their frames should wear;
    So still, so dense the Austrians stood,
    A living wall, a human wood.

    Impregnable their front appears,
    All horrent with projected spears.
    Whose polished points before them shine,
    From flank to flank, one brilliant line,
    Bright as the breakers' splendours run
    Along the billows to the sun.

    Opposed to these a hovering band
    Contended for their fatherland;
    Peasants, whose new-found strength had broke
    From manly necks the ignoble yoke,
    And beat their fetters into swords,
    On equal terms to fight their lords;
    And what insurgent rage had gained,
    In many a mortal fray maintained;
    Marshalled, once more, at Freedom's call,
    They came to conquer or to fall,
    Where he who conquered, he who fell,
    Was deemed a dead or living Tell,
    Such virtue had that patriot breathed,
    So to the soil his soul bequeathed,
    That wheresoe'er his arrows flew,
    Heroes in his own likeness grew,
    And warriors sprang from every sod,
    Which his awakening footstep trod.

    And now the work of life and death
    Hung on the passing of a breath;
    The fire of conflict burned within,
    The battle trembled to begin;
    Yet, while the Austrians held their ground,
    Point for attack was nowhere found;
    Where'er the impatient Switzers gazed,
    The unbroken line of lances blazed;
    That line 'twere suicide to meet,
    And perish at their tyrant's feet;
    How could they rest within their graves,
    And leave their homes, the homes of slaves!
    Would not they feel their children tread,
    With clanging chains, above their head?

    It must not be; this day, this hour,
    Annihilates the invader's power;
    All Switzerland is in the field;
    She will not fly,—she cannot yield,—
    She must not fall; her better fate
    Here gives her an immortal date.
    Few were the numbers she could boast,
    But every freeman was a host,
    And felt as 'twere a secret known
    That one should turn the scale alone,
    While each unto himself was he
    On whose sole arm hung victory.

    It did depend on one indeed;
    Behold him,—Arnold Winkelried;
    There sounds not to the trump of fame
    The echo of a nobler name.
    Unmarked he stood amid the throng,
    In rumination deep and long,
    Till you might see, with sudden grace,
    The very thought come o'er his face;
    And, by the motion of his form,
    Anticipate the bursting storm,
    And, by the uplifting of his brow,
    Tell where the bolt would strike, and how.

    But 'twas no sooner thought than done!
    The field was in a moment won;
    "Make way for liberty!" he cried,
    Then ran, with arms extended wide,
    As if his dearest friend to clasp;
    Ten spears he swept within his grasp.
    "Make way for liberty!" he cried.
    Their keen points crossed from side to side;
    He bowed amidst them like a tree,
    And thus made way for liberty.

    Swift to the breach his comrades fly,
    "Make way for liberty!" they cry,
    And through the Austrian phalanx dart,
    As rushed the spears through Arnold's heart.
    While instantaneous as his fall,
    Rout, ruin, panic, seized them all;
    An earthquake could not overthrow
    A city with a surer blow.

    Thus Switzerland again was free;
    Thus Death made way for Liberty!

  31. Keep A-Pluggin' Away

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    I've a humble little motto
    That is homely, though it's true, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    It's a thing when I've an object
    That I always try to do, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    When you've rising storms to quell,
    When opposing waters swell,
    It will never fail to tell, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.

    If the hills are high before
    And the paths are hard to climb,
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    And remember that successes
    Come to him who bides his time, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    From the greatest to the least,
    None are from the rule released.
    Be thou toiler, poet, priest,
    Keep a-pluggin' away.

    Delve away beneath the surface,
    There is treasure farther down, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    Let the rain come down in torrents,
    Let the threat'ning heavens frown,
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    When the clouds have rolled away,
    There will come a brighter day
    All your labor to repay, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.

    There 'll be lots of sneers to swallow.
    There'll be lots of pain to bear, —
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    If you've got your eye on heaven,
    Some bright day you'll wake up there,
    Keep a-pluggin' away.
    Perseverance still is king;
    Time its sure reward will bring;
    Work and wait unwearying,—
    Keep a-pluggin' away.

  32. Not They Who Soar

    by Paul Laurence Dunbar

    Not they who soar, but they who plod
    Their rugged way, unhelped, to God
    Are heroes; they who higher fare,
    And, flying, fan the upper air,
    Miss all the toil that hugs the sod.
    'Tis they whose backs have felt the rod,
    Whose feet have pressed the path unshod,
    May smile upon defeated care,
    Not they who soar.
    High up there are no thorns to prod,
    Nor boulders lurking 'neath the clod
    To turn the keenness of the share,
    For flight is ever free and rare;
    But heroes they the soil who've trod,
    Not they who soar!

    In the world’s broad field of battle,
    In the bivouac of Life,
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
    Be a hero in the strife!

    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    A Psalm of Life
  33. A Psalm of Life

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
    With a heart for any fate;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
    Learn to labor and to wait.

    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    A Psalm of Life
    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    What The Heart of The Young Man Said to the Psalmist.

    Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
    Life is but an empty dream!
    For the soul is dead that slumbers,
    And things are not what they seem.

    Life is real! Life is earnest!
    And the grave is not its goal;
    Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
    Was not spoken of the soul.

    Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
    Is our destined end or way;
    But to act, that each to-morrow
    Find us farther than to-day.

    Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
    And our hearts, though stout and brave,
    Still, like muffled drums, are beating
    Funeral marches to the grave.

    In the world’s broad field of battle,
    In the bivouac of Life,
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
    Be a hero in the strife!

    Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
    Let the dead Past bury its dead!
    Act,— act in the living Present!
    Heart within, and God o’erhead!

    Lives of great men all remind us
    We can make our lives sublime,
    And, departing, leave behind us
    Footprints on the sands of time;

    Footprints, that perhaps another,
    Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
    A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
    Seeing, shall take heart again.

    Let us, then, be up and doing,
    With a heart for any fate;
    Still achieving, still pursuing,
    Learn to labor and to wait.

  34. Give Them the Flowers Now

    by Leigh M. Hodges

    Closed eyes can't see the white roses,
    Cold hands can't hold them, you know;
    Breath that is stilled cannot gather
    The odors that sweet from them blow.
    Death, with a peace beyond dreaming,
    Its children of earth doth endow;
    Life is the time we can help them,
    So give them the flowers now!

    Here are the struggles and striving,
    Here are the cares and the tears;
    Now is the time to be smoothing
    The frowns and the furrows and fears.
    What to closed eyes are kind sayings?
    What to hushed heart is deep vow?
    Naught can avail after parting,
    So give them the flowers now!

    Just a kind word or a greeting;
    Just a warm grasp or a smile—
    These are the flowers that will lighten
    The burdens for many a mile.
    After the journey is over
    What is the use of them; how
    Can they carry them who must be carried?
    Oh, give them the flowers now!

    Blooms from the happy heart's garden,
    Plucked in the spirit of love;
    Blooms that are earthly reflections
    Of flowers that blossom above.
    Words cannot tell what a measure
    Of blessing such gifts will allow
    To dwell in the lives of many,
    So give them the flowers now!

  35. Trailing Arbutus

    by John Greenleaf Whittier

    I wandered lonely where the pine-trees made
    Against the bitter East their barricade,
    And, guided by its sweet
    Perfume, I found, within a narrow dell,
    The trailing spring flower tinted like a shell
    Amid dry leaves and mosses at my feet.

    From under dead boughs, for whose loss the pines
    Moaned ceaseless overhead, the blossoming vines
    Lifted their glad surprise,
    While yet the bluebird smoothed in leafless trees
    His feathers ruffled by the chill sea-breeze,
    And snow-drifts lingered under April skies.

    As, pausing, o'er the lonely flower I bent,
    I thought of lives thus lowly clogged and pent,
    Which yet find room,
    Through care and cumber, coldness and decay,
    To lend a sweetness to the ungenial day
    And make the sad earth happier for their bloom.

  36. The Sin of Omission

    The tender word forgotten;
    The letter you did not write;
    The flowers you did not send, dear,
    Are your haunting ghosts at night.

    – Margaret E. Sangster
    The Sin of Omission
    by Margaret E. Sangster

    It isn't the thing you do, dear,
    It's the thing you leave undone
    That gives you a bit of a heartache
    At the setting of the sun.
    The tender word forgotten;
    The letter you did not write;
    The flowers you did not send, dear,
    Are your haunting ghosts at night.

    The stone you might have lifted
    Out of a brother's way;
    The bit of hearthstone counsel
    You were hurried too much to say;
    The loving touch of the hand, dear,
    The gentle, winning tone
    Which you had no time nor thought for
    With troubles enough of your own.

    Those little acts of kindness
    So easily out of mind,
    Those chances to be angels
    Which we poor mortals find—
    They come in night and silence,
    Each sad, reproachful wraith,
    When hope is faint and flagging
    And a chill has fallen on faith.

    For life is all too short, dear,
    And sorrow is all too great,
    To suffer our slow compassion
    That tarries until too late;
    And it isn't the thing you do, dear,
    It's the thing you leave undone
    Which gives you a bit of a heartache
    At the setting of the sun.

  37. Small Beginnings

    by Charles Mackay

    A traveler on the dusty road
    Strewed acorns on the lea;
    And one took root and sprouted up,
    And grew into a tree.
    Love sought its shade, at evening time,
    To breathe his early vows;
    And age was pleased, in heats of noon,
    To bask beneath its boughs;
    The dormouse loved its dangling twigs,
    The birds sweet music bore;
    It stood a glory in its place,
    A blessing evermore.

    A little spring had lost its way
    Amid the grass and fern,
    A passing stranger scooped a well
    Where weary men might turn;
    He walled it in, and hung with care
    A ladle at the brink;
    He thought not of the deed he did,
    But judged that all might drink.
    He paused again, and lo! the well,
    By summer never dried,
    Had cooled ten thousand parching tongues
    And saved a life beside.

    A dreamer dropped a random thought;
    'Twas old, and yet 'twas new;
    A simple fancy of the brain,
    But strong in being true.
    It shone upon a genial mind,
    And, lo! its light became
    A lamp of life, a beacon ray,
    A monitory flame;
    The thought was small, its issue great;
    A watch-fire on the hill;
    It shed its radiance far adown,
    And cheers the valley still.

    A nameless man, amid a crowd
    That thronged the daily mart,
    Let fall a word of Hope and Love,
    Unstudied from the heart;
    A whisper on the tumult thrown,
    A transitory breath—
    It raised a brother from the dust,
    It saved a soul from death.
    O germ! O fount! O word of love!
    O thought at random cast!
    Ye were but little at the first,
    But mighty at the last.

  38. Life Sculpture

    by George Washington Doane

    Chisel in hand stood a sculptor boy
    With his marble block before him,
    And his eyes lit up with a smile of joy,
    As an angel-dream passed o’er him.

    He carved the dream on that shapeless stone,
    With many a sharp incision;
    With heaven’s own flight the sculpture shone,—
    He’d caught that angel-vision.

    Children of life are we, as we stand
    With our lives uncarved before us,
    Waiting the hour when, at God’s command,
    Our life-dream shall pass o’er us.

    If we carve it then on the yielding stone,
    With many a sharp incision,
    Its heavenly beauty shall be our own,—
    Our lives, that angel-vision.

    Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

    – Isaiah 64:8
    The Bible, NIV
  39. Be Strong

    by Maltbie Davenport Babcock

    Be strong!
    We are not here to play, to dream, to drift,
    We have hard work to do, and loads to lift.
    Shun not the struggle; face it. 'Tis God's gift.

    Be strong!
    Say not the days are evil, — Who's to blame?
    And fold not the hands and acquiesce, — O shame!
    Stand up, speak out, and bravely, in God's name.

    Be strong!
    It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong,
    How hard the battle goes, the day, how long.
    Faint not, fight on! To-morrow comes the song.

    Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

    – Ephesians 6:10
    The Bible, KJV
  40. The House by the Side of the Road

    by Sam Walter Foss

    There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
    In the peace of their self-content;
    There are souls, like stars, that dwell apart,
    In a fellowless firmament;
    There are pioneer souls that blaze their paths
    Where highways never ran;—
    But let me live by the side of the road
    And be a friend to man.

    Let me live in a house by the side of the road,
    Where the race of men go by—
    The men who are good and the men who are bad,
    As good and as bad as I.
    I would not sit in the scorner’s seat,
    Or hurl the cynic’s ban;—
    Let me live in a house by the side of the road
    And be a friend to man.

    I see from my house by the side of the road,
    By the side of the highway of life,
    The men who press with the ardor of hope,
    The men who are faint with the strife.
    But I turn not away from their smiles nor their tears—
    Both parts of an infinite plan;—
    Let me live in my house by the side of the road
    And be a friend to man.

    I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead
    And mountains of wearisome height;
    That the road passes on through the long afternoon
    And stretches away to the night.
    But still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice,
    And weep with the strangers that moan,
    Nor live in my house by the side of the road
    Like a man who dwells alone.

    Let me live in my house by the side of the road
    Where the race of men go by—
    They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
    Wise, foolish— so am I.
    Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat
    Or hurl the cynic’s ban?—
    Let me live in my house by the side of the road
    And be a friend to man.

    Love thy neighbour as thyself.

    – Mark 12:31
    The Bible
  41. Fraternity

    by William Henry Dawson

    Fraternity is that feeling toward mankind—
    Without regard to rank, or wealth, or place—
    Which makes a brother easy quite to find,
    And sees God's image in that brother's face.

    Sometimes the image is so badly scarred;
    Almost beyond the recognition mark;
    Its life by sinfulness so badly marred
    That all the good combined is but a spark,

    Yet the sweet spirit of fraternity,
    Acknowledging the fatherhood of God,
    Fails not His likeness in that soul to see,
    And lifts it from beneath the chastening rod.

    The man who thinks himself without a friend;
    Who bitterest dregs from sorrow's cup has drained;
    Who'd gladly welcome death if 'twould but end
    The hell on earth which sinfulness has gained—

    To him fraternity extends its hand
    And says "my fellow trav'ler, look above;
    Let me assist you on your feet to stand.
    You are God's child, and God is love."

  42. John Curzon's Watch

    Conquer—from things as they are!

    - Amos Russel Wells
    John Curzon's Watch
    by Amos Russel Wells

    Have you heard of John Curzon, of Poland?
    A wonderful artisan, he!
    A watchmaker equalled in no land,
    As you, I am sure, will agree.

    For the Czar of the Russias, to try him,
    Commanded a watch for his fob,
    And bade that his envoy supply him
    With all he might use in the job.

    So the messenger brought some wood chippings,
    Some glass that was smashed in a fall,
    Copper nails and some bits of wire clippings,
    And a cracked china cup; that was all!

    John Curzon, this rubbish receiving,
    Contrived, with no other to aid,—
    it is true, though it seems past believing,—
    A watch that was perfectly made!

    The case—it was formed of the china.
    The works were patched up from the rest.
    it was worthy a rez or rigina;
    And Curzon had won in the test!

    So, my lad, with no money and no land,
    And Fate as severe as the Czar,
    Just think you are Curzon of Poland,
    And conquer—from things as they are!

  43. Fruition

    by Charles William Hubner

    Let thy life be like the day,
    Dying 'mid the sunset's roses—
    Fairest when about thy way
    Death's eternal shadow closes;

    Let it be like summer time,
    Season of supernal splendor!
    Full of promises divine,
    Love, and joy, and music tender;

    Like the autumn let it be,
    When the world's aglow with beauty—
    Rich with golden sheaves, for thee
    Ripened in the field of Duty.

  44. The Weight of a Word

    by Kate Slaughter McKinney

    Have you ever thought of the weight of a word
    That falls in the heart like the song of a bird,
    That gladdens the springtime of memory and youth
    And garlands with cedar the banner of Truth,
    That moistens the harvesting spot of the brain
    Like dew-drops that fall on the meadow of grain
    Or that shrivels the germ and destroys the fruit
    And lies like a worm at the lifeless root?

    I saw a farmer at break of day
    Hoeing his corn in a careful way;
    An enemy came with a drouth in his eye,
    Discouraged the worker and hurried by.
    The keen-edged blade of the faithful hoe
    Dulled on the earth in the long corn row;
    The weeds sprung up and their feathers tossed
    Over the field and the crop was—lost.

    A sailor launched on an angry bay
    When the heavens entombed the face of day
    The wind arose like a beast in pain,
    And shook on the billows his yellow name,
    The storm beat down as if cursed the cloud,
    And the waves held up a dripping shroud—
    But, hark! o’er the waters that wildly raved
    Came a word of cheer and he was—saved.

    A poet passed with a song of God
    Hid in his heart like a gem in a clod.
    His lips were framed to pronounce the thought,
    And the music of rhythm its magic wrought;
    Feeble at first was the happy trill,
    Low was the echo that answered the hill,
    But a jealous friend spoke near his side,
    And on his lips the sweet song—died.

    A woman paused where a chandelier
    Threw in the darkness its poisoned spear;
    Weary and footsore from journeying long,
    She had strayed unawares from the right to the wrong.
    Angels were beck’ning her back from the den,
    Hell and its demons were beck’ning her in;
    The tone of an urchin, like one who forgives,
    Drew her back and in heaven that sweet word—lives.

    Words! Words! They are little, yet mighty and brave;
    They rescue a nation, an empire save;
    They close up the gaps in a fresh bleeding heart
    That sickness and sorrow have severed apart,
    They fall on the path, like a ray of the sun,
    Where the shadows of death lay so heavy upon;
    They lighten the earth over our blessed dead,
    A word that will comfort, oh! leave not unsaid.

  45. The One in Ten

    by Edgar A. Guest

    Nine passed him by with a hasty look,
    Each bent on his eager way;
    One glance at him was the most they took,
    "Somebody stuck," said they;
    But it never occurred to the nine to heed
    A stranger's plight and a stranger's need.

    The tenth man looked at the stranded car,
    And he promptly stopped his own.
    "Let's see if I know what your troubles are,"
    Said he in a cheerful tone;
    "Just stuck in the mire. Here's a cable stout, Hitch onto my bus and I'll pull you out."

    "A thousand thanks," said the stranger then,
    "For the debt that I owe you;
    I've counted them all and you're one in ten
    Such a kindly deed to do."
    And the tenth man smiled and he answered then,
    "Make sure that you'll be the one in ten."

    Are you one of the nine who pass men by
    In this hasty life we live?
    Do you refuse with a downcast eye
    The help which you could give?
    Or are you the one in ten whose creed
    Is always to stop for the man in need?

  46. Life

    by Edgar A. Guest

    Life is a jest;
    Take the delight of it.
    Laughter is best;
    Sing through the night of it.
    Swiftly the tear
    And the hurt and the ache of it
    Find us down here;
    Life must be what we make of it.

    Life is a song;
    Let us dance to the thrill of it.
    Grief's hours are long,
    And cold is the chill of it.
    Joy is man's need;
    Let us smile for the sake of it.
    This be our creed:
    Life must be what we make of it.

    Life is a soul;
    The virtue and vice of it.
    Strife for a goal,
    And man's strength is the price of it.
    Your life and mine,
    The bare bread and the cake of it,
    End in this line:
    Life must be what we make of it.

  47. Mockery

    by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

    Why do we grudge our sweets so to the living,
    Who, God knows, find at best too much of gall,
    And then with generous, open hands kneel, giving
    Unto the dead our all?

    Why do we pierce the warm hearts, sin or sorrow,
    With idle jests, or scorn, or cruel sneers,
    And when it cannot know, on some tomorrow,
    Speak of its woe through tears?

    What do the dead care, for the tender token—
    The love, the praise, the floral offerings?
    But palpitating, living hearts are broken
    For want of just these things.

  48. His Other Chance

    by Edgar A. Guest

    He was down and out, and his pluck was gone,
    And he said to me in a gloomy way:
    "I've wasted my chances, one by one,
    And I'm just no good, as the people say.
    Nothing ahead, and my dreams all dust,
    Though once there was something I might have been,
    But I wasn't game, and I broke my trust,
    And I wasn't straight and I wasn't clean."

    "You're pretty low down," says I to him,
    "But nobody's holding you there, my friend.
    Life is a stream where men sink or swim,
    And the drifters come to a sorry end;
    But there's two of you living and breathing still—
    The fellow you are, and he's tough to see,
    And another chap, if you've got the will,
    The man that you still have a chance to be."

    He laughed with scorn. "Is there two of me?
    I thought I'd murdered the other one.
    I once knew a chap that I hoped to be,
    And he was decent, but now he's gone."
    "Well," says I, "it may seem to you
    That life has little of joy in store,
    But there's always something you still can do,
    And there's never a man but can try once more.

  49. The Best That You Can

    by Anonymous

    Did you meet that trouble that came your way
    With a resolute heart and cheerful?
    Or hide your face from the light of day
    With a craven soul and fearful;
    For a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,
    It isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,
    But only, how did you take it?

    You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that?
    Get up with a smiling face,
    It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
    But to lie there—that’s the disgrace;
    For, the harder you’re hit, the higher you bounce,
    Be proud of your blackened eye;
    It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts,
    But how did you fight, and why?

    And when you are done to the death, what then?
    If you have done the best you could.
    If you’ve taken your place in the world of men,
    Why, the critic will call you good.
    Death comes with a crawl or comes with a pounce,
    And whether it be slow or spry,
    It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,
    But only, how did you die.

  50. My Wage

    by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse

    I bargained with Life for a penny,
    And Life would pay no more,
    However I begged at evening
    When I counted my scanty store;

    For Life is a just employer,
    He gives you what you ask,
    But once you have set the wages,
    Why, you must bear the task.

    I worked for a menial's hire,
    Only to learn, dismayed,
    That any wage I had asked of Life,
    Life would have paid.

  51. Do Your Best

    by Kate Louise Wheeler

    Make the best of life today—
    Take what God has given;
    Do not falter on the way—
    Each step leads to Heaven.

    Tho' the journey may be long,
    And the way be weary,
    Make it shorter with a song—
    Days will seem less dreary.

    Let the sunshine fill your heart—
    All it's shadows hiding;
    Do your humble little part—
    Leave to God the guiding.

    Do not soar to highest things
    'Till you have a reason;
    He will give the soul it's wings
    In his own good season.

    Little robins in the nest—
    Ere their wings are stronger—
    Learn too late that it is best
    To keep patient longer.

    If you cannot do to-day
    What you hope and plan,
    God will show a better way,—
    Do the best you can.

  52. The Value of Little Things

    by William Cutter

    What if the little rain should say,
    "So small a drop as I
    Can ne'er refresh the thirsty earth,
    I'll tarry in the sky!"

    What if a shining beam of noon
    Should in its fountain stay,
    Because its feeble light alone
    Is not enough for day!

    Doth not each rain-drop help to form
    The cool refreshing shower?
    And every ray of light to warm
    And beautify the flower?

  53. The Present

    by Martha Waldron Blacker

    A song of the Present,—the unwritten Now,
    Whether age, youth, or manhood is stamped on the brow;
    Of the days that are lent us by Heaven's behest,
    To prepare for the future and heavenly rest.

    The past lies behind us with memories filled,
    Of hopes that have perished, of wishes fulfilled,
    Of joys that have vanished, of joys that remain,
    Of friends that have left us to come not again.

    The future before us is hid from our sight;
    Time's changes alone shall reveal it to light,
    The present is with us, though fleeting full fast,
    Its moments swift hastening to blend with the past.

    Each day in the drama of life hath a part,
    Bringing pleasure or grief to each beating heart,
    And the tablet of time hath a record true
    Of the deeds left undone and the deeds that we do.

    There are dear ones to cherish, kind words to say,
    Faint hearts to solace in life's rugged way;
    There is succor to give to the brother in need,
    The fallen to lift and the hungry to feed.

    There are wrongs to be righted,—who of us shall dare
    Refuse in this God-given work to share?
    There is work for us all; let us do it in love;
    Let us merit the meed of "Well done" from above.

  54. The Swedish Wife

    by Henrietta Gould Rowe. In the State House at Augusta, Me., is a bunch of cedar shingles made by a Swedish woman the wife of one of the earliest settlers of New Sweden, who, with her husband sick and a family of little ones dependent upon her, made with her own hands these shingles, and carried them eight miles upon her back to the town of Caribou, where she exchanged them for provisions for her family.

    The morning sun shines bright and clear,
    Clear and cold, for winter is near,—
    Winter, the chill and dread:
    And the fire burns bright in the exile's home,
    With fagot of fir from the mountain's dome,
    While the children clamor for bread.

    Against the wall stands the idle wheel,
    Unfinished the thread upon the spindle and reel,
    The empty cards are crost;
    But nigh to the hearthstone sits the wife,
    With cleaver and mallet,—so brave and so blithe,
    She fears not famine or frost.

    Fair and soft are her braided locks,
    And the light in her blue eye merrily mocks
    The shadow of want and fear,
    As deftly, with fingers supple and strong,
    She draws the glittering shave along,
    O'er the slab of cedar near.

    Neatly and close are the shingles laid,
    Bound in a bunch,—then, undismayed,
    The Swedish wife uprose:
    "Be patient, my darlings," she blithely said,
    "I go to the town, and you shall have bread,
    Ere the day has reached its close."

    Eight miles she trudged—'twas a weary way;
    The road was rough, the sky grew gray
    With the snow that sifted down;
    Bent were her shoulders beneath their load,
    But high was her heart, for love was the goad
    That urged her on to the town.

    Ere the sun went down was her promise kept,
    The little ones feasted before they slept;
    While the father, sick in bed,
    Prayed softly, with tears and murmurs low,
    That his household darlings might never know
    A lack of their daily bread.

  55. Measurement

    by Ella Hines Stratton

    Great tasks are but seldom given out,
    Great deeds are but for the few,
    Yet the little acts, not talked about,
    May need a faith as true.

    Some things are better for being small,
    For a breath who wants a cyclone?
    And the flower which would die in a water-fall
    Grows bright with a drop alone.

    The small is not always a little thing—
    The stroke of a pen may move
    A crown from off the brow of a king,
    A government from its groove.

    At times our measurement cannot be right,
    For, when tried by the Master's test,
    So little a gift as a widow's mite
    Out-balances all the rest.

    And whether a thing be great or small
    As none of us may plan,
    It is safe to do, what we do at all,
    The very best that we can.

  56. Days

    by Annette Wynne

    Every sort of day together,
    Makes a year of every weather,
    Rainy days and clear days, warm days and cool,
    Holidays, vacation days and days to go to school,
    Winter days and summer days and days of spring and fall,
    To make the calendar, my dear, we have to take them all;
    Here's a pretty day for trying, here's a rainy day for working,
    But I cannot find a single day in all the year for shirking.
    There are days when we are very glad,
    And days when we are still and sad;
    But on all days, I find it good
    To do to others as I would
    Be done by—that's the way
    To keep each passing day
    And so spend happy times together
    In sunny or in windy weather.

  57. Be the Best of Whatever You Are

    by Douglas Malloch

    If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill,
    Be a scrub in the valley—but be
    The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
    Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

    If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
    And some highway happier make;
    If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass—
    But the liveliest bass in the lake!

    We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
    There's something for all of us here,
    There's big work to do, and there's lesser to do,
    And the task you must do is the near.

    If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
    If you can't be the sun be a star;
    It isn't by size that you win or you fail—
    Be the best of whatever you are!

  58. Good Timber

    by Douglas Malloch

    The tree that never had to fight
    For sun and sky and air and light,
    But stood out in the open plain
    And always got its share of rain,
    Never became a forest king
    But lived and died a scrubby thing.

    The man who never had to toil
    To gain and farm his patch of soil,
    Who never had to win his share
    Of sun and sky and light and air,
    Never became a manly man
    But lived and died as he began.

    Good timber does not grow with ease,
    The stronger wind, the stronger trees,
    The further sky, the greater length,
    The more the storm, the more the strength.
    By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
    In trees and men good timbers grow.

    Where thickest lies the forest growth
    We find the patriarchs of both.
    And they hold counsel with the stars
    Whose broken branches show the scars
    Of many winds and much of strife.
    This is the common law of life.

  59. Encouragement

    by Douglas Malloch

    I hold him dearest who aspires
    To kindle in my heart the fires
    Of best desires.

    I hold the man of all most dear
    Who, when I stumble, draweth near
    With word of cheer.

    I hold that man of best intents
    Who giveth me not paltry pence,
    But confidence.

    For there are men who quick caress
    Win give to laurel-crowned success—
    To nothing less.

    But, oh, how dearer far are they
    Who help me on the upward way
    When skies are gray.

    If so it be that I attain
    The mountain peak, and leave the plain
    And paths of pain,

    My prayers shall first be upward sent
    For those dear friends of mine who lent

  60. So live your life

    by Tecumseh

    So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
    Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.
    Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
    Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
    Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

    Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
    Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

    When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.
    If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.
    Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

    When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.
    Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

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