The Laborer

Stand up--erect! Thou hast the form
    And likeness of thy God!--Who more?
  A soul as dauntless 'mid the storm
  Of daily life, a heart as warm
      And pure, as breast e'er wore.

  What then?--Thou art as true a man
    As moves the human mass among;
  As much a part of the great plan
  That with creation's dawn began,
      As any of the throng.

  Who is thine enemy? The high
    In station, or in wealth the chief?
  The great, who coldly pass thee by,
  With proud step and averted eye?
      Nay! nurse not such belief.

  If true unto thyself thou wast,
    What were the proud one's scorn to thee?
  A feather which thou mightest cast
  Aside, as idly as the blast
      The light leaf from the tree.

  No: uncurbed passions, low desires,
    Absence of noble self-respect.
  Death, in the breast's consuming fires,
  To that high nature which aspires
      Forever, till thus checked;--

  These are thine enemies--thy worst:
    They chain thee to thy lowly lot;
  Thy labor and thy life accursed.
  O, stand erect, and from them burst,
      And longer suffer not.

  Thou art thyself thine enemy:
    The great!--what better they than thou?
  As theirs is not thy will as free?
  Has God with equal favors thee
      Neglected to endow?

  True, wealth thou hast not--'tis but dust;
    Nor place--uncertain as the wind;
  But that thou hast, which, with thy crust
  And water, may despise the lust
      Of both--a noble mind.

  With this, and passions under ban,
    True faith, and holy trust in God,
  Thou art the peer of any man.
  Look up then; that thy little span
      Of life may be well trod.

-- William D. Gallagher





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