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To Every Man His Work (Poem)

One stood and gazed upon another’s pain,
And marked how bravely he its burden bore,
Then turned him to his own loathed task again,
More discontented even than before,
And ever after idly did repine—
“Oh that such strength, such fortitude were mine!”
Another listened to the words of praise
Showered by the many on a wealthy friend
Who used his talent in unusual ways,
The poor, the weak, the helpless to defend
And scornfully exclaimed—“How cheap his fame!
Had I his gold, I too had done the same!”
And yet another looked upon the face
Of one well skilled in wisdom from above,
Who even through the darkest cloud could trace
The silver lining of Eternal Love.
Then left his tardy labor to bemoan
That such high honor ne'er would be his own.
Then came the Master, when ’twas time to rest,
And bade them bring their record-sheets to Him;
Each plucked it eagerly from out his breast,
But lo! the pale-writ words had grown so dim
That none could be distinguished, and they said:
“The fault is Thine who planned where we should tread.”
But He replied: “Nay, nay, your words are wrong,
’Tis not the road, but how ye walk therein;
Men‘ to reach heaven ten thousand pathways throng,
But only Duty’s sons may entrance win:”—
Then vanished suddenly from out their sight,
And left them Weeping in the outer night,

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Florence M. Solomon

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