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Leadership Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Path by Ruby Archer
  2. Sheridan's Ride by Thomas Buchanan Read
  3. A Kind Headed Statue by Anonymous
  4. The President Who Does It All by Amos Russel Wells

The house leaks from the roof on down.

– Vietnamese Proverb
  1. The Path

    For men, like sheep unquestioning,
    Are ever fain to follow...
    Diverge not, though in toil you groan,—
    Remember—you are leading.

    – Ruby Archer
    The Path
    by Ruby Archer

    A path goes wrinkling up the hill;
    A little path, with many a falter,
    As if a faint or fickle will
    Had let the purpose alter.

    The fault we lay to him alone
    Who first the upward journey made;
    Whom here a bush and there a stone
    From his intent betrayed.

    How many will their footsteps bring
    Where waits for them a trodden hollow,
    For men, like sheep unquestioning,
    Are ever fain to follow.

    If you are first, put back the stone,
    Subdue the bush your way impeding.
    Diverge not, though in toil you groan,—
    Remember—you are leading.

  2. Sheridan's Ride

    by Thomas Buchanan Read

    Up from the South, at break of day,
    Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,
    The affrighted air with a shudder bore,
    Like a herald in haste to the chieftain's door,
    The terrible grumble, and rumble, and roar,
    Telling the battle was on once more,
    And Sheridan twenty miles away.

    And wider still those billows of war
    Thundered along the horizon's bar;
    And louder yet into Winchester rolled
    The roar of that red sea uncontrolled,
    Making the blood of the listener cold,
    As he thought of the stake in that fiery fray,
    With Sheridan twenty miles away.

    But there is a road from Winchester town,
    A good, broad highway leading down:
    And there, through the flush of the morning light,
    A steed as black as the steeds of night
    Was seen to pass, as with eagle flight;
    As if he knew the terrible need,
    He stretched away with his utmost speed.
    Hills rose and fell, but his heart was gay,
    With Sheridan fifteen miles away.

    Still sprang from those swift hoofs, thundering south,
    The dust like smoke from the cannon's mouth,
    Or the trail of a comet, sweeping faster and faster,
    Foreboding to traitors the doom of disaster.
    The heart of the steed and the heart of the master
    Were beating like prisoners assaulting their walls,
    Impatient to be where the battle-field calls;
    Every nerve of the charger was strained to full play,
    With Sheridan only ten miles away.

    Under his spurning feet, the road
    Like an arrowy Alpine river flowed,
    And the landscape sped away behind
    Like an ocean flying before the wind;
    And the steed, like a barque fed with furnace ire,
    Swept on, with his wild eye full of fire;
    But, lo! he is nearing his heart's desire;
    He is snuffing the smoke of the roaring fray,
    With Sheridan only five miles away.

    The first that the general saw were the groups
    Of stragglers, and then the retreating troops;
    What was to be done? what to do?—a glance told him both.
    Then striking his spurs with a terrible oath,
    He dashed down the line, 'mid a storm of huzzas,
    And the wave of retreat checked its course there, because
    The sight of the master compelled it to pause.
    With foam and with dust the black charger was gray;
    By the flash of his eye, and his red nostril's play,
    He seemed to the whole great army to say:
    "I have brought you Sheridan all the way
    From Winchester down to save the day."

    Hurrah! hurrah for Sheridan!
    Hurrah! hurrah for horse and man!
    And when their statues are placed on high
    Under the dome of the Union sky,
    The American soldier's Temple of Fame,
    There, with the glorious general's name,
    Be it said, in letters both bold and bright:
    "Here is the steed that saved the day
    By carrying Sheridan into the fight,
    From Winchester—twenty miles away!"

  3. A Kind Headed Statue

    Ah, happy is the nation
    Whose ruler cares for men;

    – Anonymous
    A Kind Headed Statue
    by Anonymous

    The quiet little Transvaal,
    On peaceful profit bent,
    Was ruled by wise Paul Kruger
    Its farmer president.
    So stoutly had he carried
    The burdens on him laid,
    The grateful Boers decided
    To have his statue made.
    Their plans were quite completed,—
    A statue big and tall,
    So set that all the city
    Might see the great "Oom Paul."
    But first,—as was a proper
    And gracious thing to do,—
    They called on Mrs Kruger,
    To get her notions, too.

    Then spoke that royal woman,
    With simple, kind intent:
    "Be sure to put a hat, sirs,
    Upon the president;
    And hollow out the top, please,
    That rain may fill it up,
    "And all the birds may find it
    A useful drinking-cup!"
    So spoke dear Mrs Kruger.
    And gratefully, I think,
    The birds will sing her praises
    Whene'er they take a drink.
    Ah, happy is the nation
    Whose ruler cares for men;
    And if his wife takes thought for birds,
    Why, it is blest again!

  4. The President Who Does It All

    by Amos Russel Wells

    The President Who Does It All,
    A very egotistic elf,
    Is blind to what the rest can do,
    Is mucilaged upon himself.
    Over the whole committee work
    He manages somehow to sprawl,
    And runs the whole society—
    The President Who Does It All.

    The President Who Does It All
    Is very certain, in his pride,
    The whole society would stop
    If he, perchance, were laid aside.
    He meddles with the least details,
    He dictates all things, great and small;
    He's It, he'd have you understand—
    The President Who Does It All.

    The President Who Does It All
    Will get mad and resign some day,
    And find, to his intense surprise,
    The other members glad and gay.
    He'll see the brisk society
    Spring up as if released from thrall,
    And go rejoicing on, without
    The President Who Does It All.

    Turn, turn, my wheel! Turn round and round,
    Without a pause, without a sound:
    So spins the flying world away!
    This clay, well mixed with marl and sand,
    Follows the motion of my hand;
    For some must follow, and some command,
    Though all are made of clay!

    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    The Song of the Potter

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