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Poems About Work

Table of Contents

  1. The Village Blacksmith by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  2. Work While You Work by M. A. Stodart
  3. The Best Firm by Walter G. Doty
  4. A Question by Anonymous
  5. The Cheery Chewink by Anonymous
  6. The Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth
  7. Hunt a Busy Man by Anonymous
  8. Ten New Committees by Anonymous
  9. I worked for chaff, and earning wheat by Emily Dickinson
  10. Something Left Undone by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  11. Perseverance by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  12. The Builders by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  13. Mystery by Dudley Hughes Davis
  14. A Bit of Pottery by Anonymous
  15. Labor of Love by Kate Louise Wheeler
  16. Chore Time by Jean Blewett
  17. Life's Knitting-Work by Harriet Selden Baker
  18. The Village Blacksmith by Anna Marie Neis
  19. Do Thine Own Task by Ellwood Roberts
  20. A Quaker Maid by James B. Kenyon
  21. Faith and Work by J. R. Eastwood
  22. The Bridge Builder by Will Allen Dromgoole
  23. Postmen by Annette Wynne
  24. A Song from the Suds by Louisa May Alcott
  25. Every Day Work by Ellen P. Allerton
  26. "Nothing to Do." by Peter Burn
  27. Now by Peter Burn
  28. Builders by Peter Burn
  29. The Glory of the Garden by Rudyard Kipling
  30. Work and Worship by William Allen Butler

Honest labor bears a lovely face.

– Thomas Dekker
Patient Grissel, Act I. Sc. 1
  1. The Village Blacksmith

    His brow is wet with honest sweat,
    He earns whate'er he can,
    And looks the whole world in the face,
    For he owes not any man.

    - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    The Village Blacksmith
    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Under a spreading chestnut-tree
    The village smithy stands;
    The smith, a mighty man is he,
    With large and sinewy hands;
    And the muscles of his brawny arms
    Are strong as iron bands.

    His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
    His face is like the tan;
    His brow is wet with honest sweat,
    He earns whate'er he can,
    And looks the whole world in the face,
    For he owes not any man.

    Week in, week out, from morn till night,
    You can hear his bellows blow;
    You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
    With measured beat and slow,
    Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
    When the evening sun is low.

    And children coming home from school
    Look in at the open door;
    They love to see the flaming forge,
    And hear the bellows roar,
    And catch the burning sparks that fly
    Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

    He goes on Sunday to the church,
    And sits among his boys;
    He hears the parson pray and preach,
    He hears his daughter's voice,
    Singing in the village choir,
    And it makes his heart rejoice.

    It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
    Singing in Paradise!
    He needs must think of her once more,
    How in the grave she lies;
    And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
    A tear out of his eyes.

    Onward through life he goes;
    Each morning sees some task begin,
    Each evening sees it close
    Something attempted, something done,
    Has earned a night's repose.

    Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
    For the lesson thou hast taught!
    Thus at the flaming forge of life
    Our fortunes must be wrought;
    Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
    Each burning deed and thought.

  2. Work While You Work

    by M. A. Stodart

    Work while you work,
    Play while you play,
    That is the way
    To be cheerful and gay.

    All that you do,
    Do with your might;
    Things done by halves
    Are never done right.

    One thing each time,
    And that done well,
    Is a very good rule,
    As wise men tell.

    Moments are useless,
    Trifled away;
    So work while you work,
    And play while you play.

  3. The Best Firm

    by Walter G. Doty

    A pretty good firm is "Watch & Waite,"
    And another is "Attit, Early & Layte;"
    And still another is "Doo & Dairet;"
    But the best is probably "Grinn & Barrett."

  4. A Question

    by Anonymous

    When work is harassing
    And driving you mad,
    And not enough patience
    And strength to be had,
    I'll give you a medicine
    Fairly sublime:
    Just get a bottle of

    Take "Oneatatime," brother.
    Soon you will find
    Quiet serenity
    Filling your mind;
    Heaps of accomplishment
    Swiftly will climb,
    Moved by the magic of

  5. The Cheery Chewink

    A worker's challenge bold and free,
    The alto call of industry...
    He shouts his slogan clear and strong,
    And glorifies his work with song.

    - Amos Russel Wells
    The Cheery Chewink
    by Amos Russel Wells

    "Chewink! Chewink!" a sprightly sound
    Ringing across the bushy ground,
    A worker's challenge bold and free,
    The alto call of industry.

    Deep in the underbrush is heard
    The scratching of the busy bird;
    Behold, with energetic heaves,
    Both feet at once, he flings the leaves.

    But ever, pausing on the brink
    Of new descent—Chewink! Chewink!—
    He shouts his slogan clear and strong,
    And glorifies his work with song.

    No dreary drudgery for him,
    A very dandy happy and trim,
    With black and white and ruddy brown,
    The smartest gentleman in town!

    Ah, brother toilers, bent and worn
    Beneath your burdens all forlorn,
    Your work's a martyrdom, you think?
    Just hear that bird: "Chewink! Chewink!"

  6. The Solitary Reaper

    by William Wordsworth

    Behold her, single in the field,
    Yon solitary Highland Lass!
    Reaping and singing by herself;
    Stop here, or gently pass!
    Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
    And sings a melancholy strain;
    O listen! for the Vale profound
    Is overflowing with the sound.

    No Nightingale did ever chaunt
    More welcome notes to weary bands
    Of Travellers in some shady haunt,
    Among Arabian sands:
    A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
    In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
    Breaking the silence of the seas
    Among the farthest Hebrides.

    Will no one tell me what she sings?
    Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
    For old, unhappy, far-off things,
    And battles long ago:
    Or is it some more humble lay,
    Familiar matter of to-day?
    Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
    That has been, and may be again!

    Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang
    As if her song could have no ending;
    I saw her singing at her work,
    And o'er the sickle bending;—
    I listened, motionless and still;
    And, as I mounted up the hill,
    The music in my heart I bore,
    Long after it was heard no more.

  7. Hunt a Busy Man

    by Anonymous

    "If you've a job that you want done,"
    So runs a saying grim,
    "Just find the busiest man you can,
    And give the task to him."

    Of all the wicked schemes devised
    By laziness and fat,
    The wickedest, the cruelest,
    The shamefulest, is that!

    The man who says that wicked thing
    Some day will surely go
    To most appropriate punishment
    Administered below.

    Upon his groaning form bestowed,
    A weight of iron shall rest,
    And ever with increasing loads
    His body shall be pressed.

    "Now here's another little weight,"
    The fiends will say with vim;
    "And here's an over-loaded man;
    So lay the weight on him."

  8. Ten New Committees

    by Amos Russel Wells

    Ten new committees, vigorous and fine;
    One was too ambitious, and then there were nine.

    Nine new committees, zealous and elate;
    One got offended, and then there were eight.

    Eight new committees, laboring for heaven;
    One got to shirking, and then there were seven.

    Seven new committees, "putting in best licks";
    One found it tedious, and then there were six.

    Six new committees, looking all alive;
    One went to sleep, and then there were five.

    Five new committees, keeping up their score;
    One became "too busy," and then there were four.

    Four new committees, bright as bright could be;
    One became careless, and then there were three.

    Three new committees, hunting things to do;
    One thought it couldn't, and then there were two.

    Two new committees, proud of good things done;
    One grew "so tired," and then there was one.

    One new committee, holding on for fun;
    Fun got exhausted, and there was—none.

  9. I worked for chaff, and earning wheat

    by Emily Dickinson

    I worked for chaff, and earning wheat
    Was haughty and betrayed.
    What right had fields to arbitrate
    In matters ratified?

    I tasted wheat, — and hated chaff,
    And thanked the ample friend;
    Wisdom is more becoming viewed
    At distance than at hand.

  10. Something Left Undone

    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Labor with what zeal we will,
    Something still remains undone,
    Something uncompleted still
    Waits the rising of the sun.
    By the bedside, on the stair,
    At the threshold, near the gates,
    With its menace or its prayer,
    Like a mendicant it waits;
    Waits, and will not go away;
    Waits, and will not be gainsaid;
    By the cares of yesterday
    Each to-day is heavier made;
    Till at length the burden seems
    Greater than our strength can bear,
    Heavy as the weight of dreams,
    Pressing on us everywhere.
    And we stand from day to day,
    Like the dwarfs of times gone by,
    Who, as Northern legends say,
    On their shoulders held the sky.

  11. Perseverance

    Life's field will yield as we make it
    A harvest of thorns or of flowers.

    - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    We must not hope to be mowers,
    And to gather the ripe gold ears,
    Unless we have first been sowers
    And watered the furrows with tears.

    It is not just as we take it,
    This mystical world of ours,
    Life's field will yield as we make it
    A harvest of thorns or of flowers.

    Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

    – 2 Corinthians 9:6
    The Bible, NIV

  12. The Builders

    All are architects of Fate,
    Working in these walls of Time;

    - The Builders
    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    All are architects of Fate,
    Working in these walls of Time;
    Some with massive deeds and great,
    Some with ornaments of rhyme.

    Nothing useless is, or low;
    Each thing in its place is best;
    And what seems but idle show
    Strengthens and supports the rest.

    For the structure that we raise,
    Time is with materials filled;
    Our to-days and yesterdays
    Are the blocks with which we build.

    Truly shape and fashion these;
    Leave no yawning gaps between;
    Think not, because no man sees,
    Such things will remain unseen.

    In the elder days of Art,
    Builders wrought with greatest care
    Each minute and unseen part;
    For the Gods see everywhere.

    Let us do our work as well,
    Both the unseen and the seen;
    Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
    Beautiful, entire, and clean.

    Else our lives are incomplete,
    Standing in these walls of Time,
    Broken stairways, where the feet
    Stumble as they seek to climb.

    Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
    With a firm and ample base;
    And ascending and secure
    Shall to-morrow find its place.

    Thus alone can we attain
    To those turrets, where the eye
    Sees the world as one vast plain,
    And one boundless reach of sky.

    By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care.

    – 1 Corinthians 3:10
    The Bible, NIV

    Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

    – Colossians 3:23
    The Bible, NIV
  13. Mystery

    by Dudley Hughes Davis

    A little brook, with beauties grand,
    Comes rippling from a mountain spring,
    And winds its way o'er stone and sand
    Through woods where birds melodious sing.

    Through time unknown to days of man,
    This murmuring stream has found its way,
    And cut a ravine through the land,
    A link in nature's grand display.

    And interwoven timber bends
    In wreathy arches o'er the walls,
    Through which this little brook descends,
    To make its leap down o'er the falls.

    It rushes down its winding stair,
    A bold and sparkling silvery sheet;
    It sends its mist into the air,
    And forms a rainbow at its feet.

    By little streams the chasm cliff
    Is worn to grains of drifting sand,
    And angry waters foam and drift
    Through wonderous wall not made by hand.

    And man looks back through time unknown
    To date the wonderous streamlet hand,
    Which sculptured chasm wall of stone,
    And wore its chips to grains of sand.

    But could the work a life had done
    Be seen by eves of mortal man,
    The sands that crumble one by one
    Could equal not the busy hand.

    Though life is short man, leaves the stage,
    As though his wonderous work was done,
    Another man, another age,
    Proves that his work has just begun.

    So like the mystic cataract stream
    Which flows a myriad years through sand,
    The world's adrift by light and stream,
    The work of ages, brain and hand.

  14. A Bit of Pottery

    by Anonymous

    The potter stood at his daily work,
    One patient foot on the ground,
    The other with never-slacking speed.
    Turning his swift wheel round.
    Silent we stood beside him there
    Watching the restless knee,
    Till my friend said low, in pitying voice,
    “How tired his foot must be!”

    The potter never paused in his work,
    Shaping the wondrous thing;
    ’Twas only a common flower-pot,
    But perfect in fashioning.
    Slowly he raised his patient eyes,
    With homely truth inspired:
    “No, marm, it isn’t the foot that kicks—
    The one that stands gets tired.”

  15. All Have Work to Do

    by R. P. S.

    A child went wandering through a wood
    Upon a summer day;
    She hoped to meet some pretty thing
    To join her in her play.

    The cloudless sky above was blue,
    The grass beneath was green,
    And all around were lovely flowers,
    The brightest ever seen.

    A honey-bee went humming by—
    “Stay, little bee!” she cried,
    “Oh, do come back and play with me.”
    And thus the bee replied:

    “I cannot stay, I must away,
    And gather in my store,
    For winter drear will soon be here,
    When I can work no more.”

    She heard a pigeon cooing soft
    High in the bough above—
    “Come down, and play a while with me,
    My pretty, gentle dove.”

    “I cannot come and play with thee,
    For I must guard my nest,
    And keep my sleeping children war
    Beneath my downy breast."

    She saw a squirrel gathering nuts
    Upon a tall beech tree—
    “I love to see you bound and leap;
    Come down and play with me.”

    “I dare not play, I must away,
    And quickly homeward hie;
    Were I to stay, my little ones
    For want of food must die.”

    She came unto a stream that leaped
    Between its rocky banks—
    “Stay, pretty stream, and play with me,
    And you shall have my thanks.”

    The stream replied, while in the pool
    A moment it stood still,
    “I cannot play, I must away
    And drive the village mill.”

    The child sat down upon a stone,
    And hung her little head:
    She wept a while, and sobbed a while,
    Then to herself she said:
    “The stream, the squirrel, dove and bee
    Have all got work to do;
    I must not play my hours away—
    I must be busy too.”

  16. Labor of Love

    by Kate Louise Wheeler

    He planted a tree, on the old home land,
    Where the summer sunlight stayed,
    Tho' he knew full well he should never stand
    'Neath it's fruit and pleasing shade.

    He penciled a book, in his life's last year,
    When the inspiration came,
    Tho' he knew his heart it could never cheer
    With it's gold and certain fame.

    But the leaves of his tree grew, day by day,
    While it's fruit the hungry fed;
    And the fruit of his book will ever stay
    While it's leaves are daily read.

  17. Chore Time

    by Jean Blewett

    When I'm at gran 'dad's on the farm,
    I hear along 'bout six o'clock,
    Just when I'm feelin' snug an' warm,
    "Ho, Bobby, come and feed your stock."

    I jump an' get into my clothes;
    It's dark as pitch, an' shivers run
    All up my back. Now, I suppose
    Not many boys would think this fun.

    But when we get out to the barn
    The greedy pigs begin to squeal,
    An' I throw in the yellow corn,
    A bushel basket to the meal.

    Then I begin to warm right up,
    I whistle Yankee Doodle" through.
    An' wrastle with the collie pup—
    And sometimes gran 'dad whistles too.

    The cow-shed door, it makes a din
    Each time we swing it open wide;
    I run an' flash the lantern in,
    There stand the shorthorns side by side.

    Their breathin' makes a sort of cloud
    Above their heads—there's no frost here.
    "My beauties," gran'dad says out loud,
    "You'll get your breakfasts, never fear."

    When up I climb into the loft
    To fill their racks with clover hay,
    Their eyes, all sleepy like and soft,
    A heap of nice things seem to say.

    The red ox shakes his curly head,
    An' turns on me a solemn face;
    I know he's awful glad his shed
    Is such a warm and smelly place.

    An' last of all the stable big,
    With harness hanging on each door,
    I always want to dance a jig
    On that old musty, dusty floor.

    It seems so good to be alive,
    An' tendin' to the sturdy grays,
    The sorrels, and old Prince, that's five—
    An' Lightfoot with her coaxing ways.

    My gran'dad tells me she is mine,
    An' I'm that proud! I braid her mane,
    An' smooth her sides until they shine,
    An' do my best to make her vain.

    When we have measured oats for all,
    Have slapped the grays upon the flanks,
    An' tried to pat the sorrels tall,
    An' heard them whinny out their thanks,

    We know it's breakfast time, and go
    Out past the yellow stacks of straw,
    Across the creek that used to flow,
    But won't flow now until a thaw.
    Behind the trees the sky is pink,
    The snow drifts by in fat white flakes.
    My gran 'dad says: "Well, Bob, I think
    There comes a smell of buckwheat cakes."

  18. Life's Knitting-Work

    by Harriet Selden Baker

    My knitting-work I laid aside
    When the week was done;
    But I took it up again
    With Monday's rising sun.

    Stitch by stitch, hour by hour,
    Through the live-long day,
    Do I go the many rounds
    Of life's busy way.

    But I find that I oft drop
    Stitches, here and there,
    From my tired hands that are
    Burdened so with care.

    But each stitch I patiently
    Through the meshes draw:
    Till my work is once again
    Whole, without a flaw!

    O that when my life shall close,
    And all its acts laid bare,
    It might all be found complete—
    Perfect everywhere,—

    A well-rounded life that should
    Receive our Lord's bequest:
    "Well done, Faithful, enter in
    To my promised rest!"

  19. The Village Blacksmith

    by Anna Marie Neis

    Ho! the village blacksmith,
    All the live-long day,
    The ringing of his anvil,
    Wears many hours away.

    How manfully he lifts his arm,
    And strikes the heavy blow,
    The hammer beating perfect time,
    As he swings it to and fro.

    Listen to the anvil!
    The sound is very dear,
    As across the little park,
    It rings out loud and clear.

    'Tis the only chiming sound,
    That keeps the village stirring,
    For in the quiet little town,
    There's nothing much occurring.

    On a bright and sunny morning,
    When the sky is blue,
    And the grass is fresh and green,
    And slightly wet with dew.

    The farmer boy may be seen
    Coming from afar,
    With horse to shoe, wagon to fix,
    And to get a box of tar.

    Then a little chit-chat
    In a loud and jolly tone,
    The farmer boy hooks up his horse,
    And hurries on toward home.

    No sooner is he out of sight,
    Than others come and go,
    Thus keeping the village blacksmith's shop
    In a continual glow.

    The smith is known for many a mile,
    And greatly esteemed it appears,
    For he has been the village smith
    For five and twenty years.

    But things will change as time goes on
    And cause us deep despair,
    For in the little village shop,
    The smith is no more there.

    For sickness came as it will to all
    Midst pleasure and midst mirth,
    And sad to say in three short days
    He departed from this earth.

    The shock is great to all around,
    Even those who knew him not,
    His death casts a shadow,
    Which will not be soon forgot.

    In the quiet little churchyard
    The smith was laid low,
    Where the green grass and the flowers,
    Will soon begin to grow.

    The birds will sing their songs
    In the bright and genial days,
    Near the lonely grave where
    The village blacksmith lays.

  20. Do Thine Own Task

    by Ellwood Roberts

    Do thine own task; look not to left or right;
    Toil on in faith, according to thy light!
    Thy neighbor's work is not assigned to thee.
    Do thine own task; therewith contented be!

    Pay not much heed to others' blame or praise;
    Let thy own conscience judge of all thy ways!
    The path of duty is the one for all;
    Who elsewhere walks, shall stumble oft and fall.

    Use well thy time; let neither praise nor blame
    Retard thy wise pursuit of lofty aim!
    Each has his own appointed work to do,
    And sweet reward it brings to toiler true.

    Go forth unto the toil assigned to thee,
    Resolved to do it, whatsoe'er it be!
    And, active, earnest, true and faithful still,
    Do thine own task; God's purposes fulfill

  21. A Quaker Maid

    by James B. Kenyon

    She sits beneath the trellised vine
    Beside the open door;
    Warm arabesques of sunlight shine
    Along the checkered floor.

    Her busy needles wink and glance
    As still her task she plies;
    By bordered walks the midges dance;
    Above, the swallow flies.

    Her face is calm; her eyes are meek;
    About her smooth young throat,
    And lightly blown o'er either cheek,
    The silken tendrils float.

    Beneath the snow-white kerchief spread
    Across her placid breast,
    Unvexed by change or darkling dread,
    Her spirit lies at rest.

    Peace is her world; no thought of ill,
    Nor breath of sordid strife,
    E'er taints the pure desires that fill
    Her cool hushed round of life.

    Afar the city roars; there sweeps
    The long white way that gleams
    For other feet; she sits and keeps
    Alone her quiet dreams.

  22. The Bridge Builder

    by Will Allen Dromgoole

    An old man going a lone highway,
    Came, at the evening cold and gray,
    To a chasm vast and deep and wide,
    The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
    The sullen stream had no fear for him;
    But he turned when safe on the other side
    And built a bridge to span the tide.

    "Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
    "You are wasting your strength with building here;
    Your journey will end with the ending day,
    Yon never again will pass this way;
    You've crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
    Why build this bridge at evening tide?"

    The builder lifted his old gray head;
    "Good friend, in the path I have come," he said,
    "There followed after me to-day
    A youth whose feet must pass this way.
    This chasm that has been as naught to me
    To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
    He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
    Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!"

  23. Postmen

    by Annette Wynne

    Some postmen sit inside all day,
    Giving lovely things away,
    Packages and bundles tied
    With the best of things inside,
    And letters, too, all clean and white
    They hand to you with great delight;
    They like to sit there all the day
    And give the pleasant things away.
    But other postmen walk outside
    Along the city far and wide;
    They take the bundles that they give
    And letters, too, out where you live;
    They do not mind the walk at all,
    They're pretty strong, and glad and tall;
    Such pleasant things some people do,
    They must be happy all day through.

  24. A Song from the Suds

    by Louisa May Alcott

    Queen of my tub, I merrily sing,
    While the white foam rises high,
    And sturdily wash, and rinse, and wring,
    And fasten the clothes to dry;
    Then out in the free fresh air they swing,
    Under the sunny sky.

    I wish we could wash from our hearts and our souls
    The stains of the week away,
    And let water and air by their magic make
    Ourselves as pure as they;
    Then on the earth there would be indeed
    A glorious washing-day!

    Along the path of a useful life
    Will heart's-ease ever bloom;
    The busy mind has no time to think
    Of sorrow, or care, or gloom;
    And anxious thoughts may be swept away
    As we busily wield a broom.

    I am glad a task to me is given
    To labor at day by day;
    For it brings me health, and strength, and hope,
    And I cheerfully learn to say,—
    "Head, you may think; heart, you may feel;
    But hand, you shall work alway!"

  25. Every Day Work

    by Ellen P. Allerton

    Great deeds are trumpeted; loud bells are rung,
    And men turn round to see
    The high peaks echo to the peans sung
    O'er some great victory.
    And yet great deeds are few. The mightiest men
    Find opportunities but now and then.

    Shall one sit idle through long days of peace,
    Waiting for walls to scale?
    Or lie in port until some "Golden Fleece"
    Lures him to face the gale?
    There's work enough: why idly, then, delay?
    His work counts most who labors every day.

    A torrent sweeps down the mountain's brow,
    With foam and Hash and roar.
    Anon its strength is spent—where is it now?
    Its one short day is o'er.
    But the clear stream that through the meadow flows
    All the long summer on its mission goes.

    Better the steady flow: the torrent's dash
    Soon leaves its rent track dry.
    Thelightwe love is not a lightning flash
    From out a midnight sky.
    But the sweet sunshine, whose unfailing ray,
    From its calm throne of blue lights every day.

    The sweetest lives are those to duty wed—
    Whose deeds both great and small,
    Are close-knit strands of one unbroken thread,
    Where love ennobles all.
    The world may sound no trumpets, ring no bells—
    The Book of Life the shining record tells.

  26. "Nothing to Do."

    by Peter Burn

    "Nothing to do," is labour enough,
    To the man of heart, the man of brain;
    Better for him, the world to rough,
    To toil in hunger, to toil in pain,
    Than idly live, with an aimless aim,
    Playing out life in a gainless game.

    Labour is rest to the man of soul,
    The man who treasures the gift of Time;
    "Nothing to do," is a sluggard's goal;
    A life of ease is a life of crime;
    A play with Time is a game of loss,
    A staking our all on a gamester's toss.

    "Nothing to do," can never be said;
    While it is day, there is work to be done!
    Work for the pen, and work for the spade—
    Work for all workers under the sun;
    The call to work is a common call,
    A call to be answered by one and by all.

    Answer the call with a love and a will,
    Be it to heart, or be it to brain;
    Be it to battle and conquer an ill,
    Be it to comfort a brother in pain;
    Whatever it be, to the front of the van!
    There is something to do; to thy name—be a man!

  27. Now

    by Peter Burn

    Work to-day, wait not to-morrow!
    To the golden now attend;
    Future joy and future sorrow
    On the present hour depend:
    Disappointment waits the sluggard,
    Coming night reproves our play,
    Let us ever upward, onward,
    Let us work while it is day.

    Much of life is lost in fretting,
    We the future clothe with care:
    Better far, the past forgetting,
    We moved on to brave and dare;
    Seasons gone, are gone for ever,
    View them not with fond regret;
    Fill the present with endeavour,
    Great results may bless us yet.

    Courage! courage! fainting brother,
    Fortune, honour may be won!
    Faith shall aid us in our labour—
    Hear her voice, "It shall be done!"
    Things which tell us of obstruction,
    Shall depart before our tread;
    If we will them to destruction,
    They shall be to us as dead.

  28. Builders

    by Peter Burn

    We each and all are builders,
    Of station, fortune, life!
    The minutes, as they meet us,
    With great results are rife;
    On self depends the future,
    Its sorrow or its joy,
    God gives the loaded present,
    And bids us it employ.

    We each and all are builders!
    Say, shall our structure stand,
    Resting on Rock-foundation
    Or on the shifting sand?
    Shall we be idle dreamers—
    That what befalls us must?
    Or active men and women,
    Who to their doings trust?

    We each and all are builders!
    O wisely then attend
    To callings, duties, promptings—
    Our lives on these depend;
    There lie both stone and mortar
    On time's deep-border'd shelves,
    And God, the Master-Builder
    Helps those who help themselves.

  29. The Glory of the Garden

    by Rudyard Kipling

    Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,
    Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
    With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
    But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.

    For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall,
    You'll find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all
    The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dung-pits and the tanks,
    The rollers, carts, and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks.

    And there you'll see the gardeners, the men and 'prentice boys
    Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise;
    For, except when seeds are planted and we shout to scare the birds,
    The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.

    And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
    And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows;
    But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift the sand and loam,
    For the Glory of the Garden occupieth all who come.

    Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
    By singing, "Oh, how beautiful," and sitting in the shade
    While better men than we go out and start their working lives
    At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives.

    There's not a pair of legs so thin, there's not a head so thick,
    There's not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick
    But it can find some needful job that's crying to be done,
    For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.

    Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
    If it's only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
    And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
    You will find yourself a partner In the Glory of the Garden.

    Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
    That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
    So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
    For the Glory of the Garden that it may not pass away!
    And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away!

  30. Work and Worship

    by William Allen Butler

    Charlemagne, the mighty monarch,
    As through Metten wood he strayed,
    Found the holy hermit, Hutto,
    Toiling in the forest glade.

    In his hand the woodman’s hatchet,
    By his side the knife and twine,
    There he cut and bound the fagots
    From the gnarled and stunted pine.

    Well the monarch knew the hermit
    For his pious works and cares,
    And the wonders which had followed
    From his vigils, fasts, and prayers.

    Much he marvelled now to see him
    Toiling thus, with axe and cord;
    And he cried in scorn, “O Father,
    Is it thus you serve the Lord?”

    But the hermit, resting neither
    Hand nor hatchet, meekly said:
    “He who does no daily labor
    May not ask for daily bread.

    “Think not that my graces slumber
    While I toil throughout the day;
    For all honest work is worship,
    And to labor is to pray.

    “Think not that the heavenly blessing
    From the workman’s hand removes;
    Who does best his task appointed,
    Him the Master most approves.”

    While he spoke the hermit, pausing
    For a moment, raised his eyes
    Where the overhanging branches
    Swayed beneath the sunset skies.

    Through the dense and vaulted forest
    Straight the level sunbeam came,
    Shining like a gilded rafter,
    Poised upon a sculptured frame.

    Suddenly, with kindling features,
    While he breathes a silent prayer,
    See, the hermit throws his hatchet,
    Lightly, upward in the air.

    Bright the well-worn steel is gleaming,
    As it flashes through the shade,
    And descending, lo! the sunbeam
    Holds it dangling by the blade!

    “See, my son,” exclaimed the hermit,—
    “See the token Heaven has sent;
    Thus to humble, patient effort
    Faith’s miraculous aid is lent.

    “Toiling, hoping, often fainting,
    As we labor, Love Divine
    Through the shadows pours its sunlight,
    Crowns the work, vouchsafes the sign!”

    Homeward slowly went the monarch,
    Till he reached his palace hall,
    Where he strode among his warriors,
    He the bravest of them all.

    Soon the Benedictine Abbey
    Rose beside the hermit’s cell;
    He, by royal hands invested,
    Ruled, as Abbot, long and well.

    Now beside the rushing Danube
    Still its ruined walls remain,
    Telling of the hermit’s patience
    And the zeal of Charlemagne.

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