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Hold by that title, which proclaims
That ye are undismayed and strong,
Accomplishing whatever aims
May to the sons of earth belong.
Yet not on you alone depend
These offices, or burdens fall;
Labor, for some or other end,
Is lord and master of us all.
The high-born youth from downy bed
Must meet the morn with horse and hound,
While Industry for daily bread
Pursues afresh his wonted round.
With all his pomp of pleasure, he
Is but your working comrade now,
And shouts and winds his horn as ye
Might whistle by the loom or plough;
In vain for him has wealth the use
Of warm repose and careless joy, —
When, as ye labor to produce,
He strives, as active to destroy.
But who is this with wasted frame,
Sad sign of vigor overwrought?
What toil can this new victim claim?
Pleasure, for Pleasure's sake besought.
How men would mock her flaunting shows,
Her golden promise, if they knew
What weary work she is to those
Who have no better work to do!
And he who still and silent sits
In closed room or shady nook,
And seems to nurse his idle wits
With folded arms or open book :
To things now working in that mind
Your children's children well may owe
Blessings that hope has ne'er defined,
Till from his busy thoughts they flow.
Thus all must work, with head or hand,
For self or others, good or ill;
Life is ordained to bear, like land,
Some fruit, be fallow as it will;
Evil has force itself to sow,
Where we deny the healthy seed;
And all our choice is this,-
- to grow
Pasture and grain, or noisome weed.
Then in content possess your hearts,
Unenvious of each other's lot,
For those which seem the easiest parts
Have travail which ye reckon not:
And he is bravest, happiest, best,
Who, from the task within his span,
Earns for himself his evening rest,
And an increase of good for man.
ALMS-GIVING.—R. M. Milnes.
WHEN Poverty, with mien of shame,
The sense of pity seeks to touch,
Or, bolder, makes the simple claim,
That I have nothing, you have much,—
Believe not either man or book
That bids you close the opening hand,
And with reproving speech and look
Your first and free intent withstand.
It may be, that the tale you hear,
Of pressing wants and losses borne,
Is heaped or colored for your ear,
And tatters for the purpose worn;
But surely Poverty has not
A sadder need than this,
A mask still meaner than her lot,
Compassion's scanty food to share.
It may be that you err, to give
What will but tempt to further spoil
Those who in low content would live
On theft of others' time and toil:
Yet sickness may have broke or bent
The active frame or vigorous will;
Or hard occasion may prevent
Their exercise of humble skill.
It may be that the suppliant's life
Has lain on many an evil way
Of foul delight and brutal strife,
And lawless deeds that shun the day;
But how can any gauge of yours
The depth of that temptation try?
What man resists, what man endures,
Is open to one only eye.
Why not believe the homely letter,
That all you give will God restore?
The poor man may deserve it better,
And surely, surely, wants it more :
Let but the rich man do his part,
And, whatsoe'er the issue be
To those who ask, his answering heart
Will gain and grow in sympathy.
Suppose that each from nature got
Bare quittance of his labor's worth,
That yearly-teeming flocks were not,
Nor manifold-producing earth;
No wilding growths of fruit and flower,
Cultured to beautiful and good,
No creatures for the arm of power
To take and tame from waste and wood!
That all men to their mortal rest
Passed shadow-like, and left behind
No free result, no clear bequest,
Won by their work of hand or mind!
That every separate life begun,
A present to the past unbound,
A lonely, independent one,
Sprung from the cold mechanic ground!
What would the record of the past,
The vision of the future be?
Nature unchanged from first to last,
And base the best humanity :
For in these gifts lies all the space
Between our England's noblest men,
And the most vile Australian race
Outprowling from their bushy den.
Then freely, as from age to age
Descending generations bear
The accumulated heritage
Of friendly and parental care,
Freely as Nature tends her wealth
Of air and fire, of sea and land,
Of childhood's happiness and health,
So freely open you your hand!
THE PATIENCE OF THE POOR.
Between you and your best intent
Necessity her brazen bar
Will often interpose, as sent
Your pure benevolence to mar:
Still every gentle word has sway
To teach the pauper's desperate mood,
That misery shall not take away
Franchise of human brotherhood.
And if this lesson comes too late,
Woe to the rich and poor and all!
The maddened outcast of the gate
Plunders and murders in the hall :
Justice can crush and hold in awe,
While Hope in social order reigns;
But if the myriads break the law,
They break it as a slave his chains!
THE PATIENCE OF THE POOR.—R. M. Milnes.
WHEN leisurely the man of ease
His morning's daily course begins,
And round him in bright circle sees
The comforts Independence wins,
He seems unto himself to hold
An uncontested natural right
In life a volume to unfold
Of simple, ever-new delight.
And if, before the evening close,
The hours their rainbow wings let fall,
And sorrow shakes his bland repose,
And too continuous pleasures pall,