I follow a famous father,
His honor is mine to wear;
He gave me a name that was free from shame,
A name he was proud to bear.
He lived in the morning sunlight,
And marched in the ranks of right.
He was always true to the best he knew
And the shield that he wore was bright.
I follow a famous father,
And never a day goes by
But I feel that he looks down to me
To carry his standard high.
He stood to the sternest trials
As only a brave man can;
Though the way be long, I must never wrong
The name of so good a man.
I follow a famous father,
Not known to the printed page,
Nor written down in the world’s renown
As a prince of his little age.
But never a stain attached to him
And never he stooped to shame;
He was bold and brave and to me he gave
The pride of an honest name.
I follow a famous father,
And him I must keep in mind;
Though his form is gone, I must carry on
The name that he left behind.
It was mine on the day he gave it,
It shone as a monarch’s crown,
And as fair to see as it came to me
It must be when I pass it down.
I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun
and hate myself for the things I have done.
I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
a lot of secrets about myself
and fool myself as I come and go
into thinking no one else will ever know
the kind of person I really am,
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
but here in the struggle for fame and wealth
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know that
I am bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and so,
whatever happens I want to be
self respecting and conscience free.
If you would please me when I’ve passed away
Let not your grief embitter you. Be brave;
Turn with full courage from my mounded grave
And smile upon the children at their play;
Let them make merry in their usual way;
Do not with sorrow those young lives enslave
Or steal from them the fleeting joys they crave;
Let not your grieving spoil their happy day.
Live on as you have lived these many years,
Still let your soul be gentle and be kind —
I never liked to see those eyes in tears!
Weep not too much that you must stay behind;
Share in the lives of others as you’d share,
If God had willed it still to leave me there.
The crowded street his playground is, a patch of blue his sky;
A puddle in a vacant lot his sea where ships pass by:
Poor little orphan boy of five, the city smoke and grime
Taint every cooling breeze he gets throughout the summer time;
And he is just as your boy is, a child who loves to play,
Except that he is drawn and white and cannot get away.
And he would like the open fields, for often in his dreams
The angels kind bear him off to where are pleasant streams,
Where he may sail a splendid boat, sometimes he flies a kite,
Or romps beside a shepherd dog and shouts with all his might;
But when the dawn of morning comes he wakes to find once more
That what he thought were sun-kissed hills are rags upon the floor.
Then through the hot and sultry day he plays at "make-pretend,"
The alley is a sandy beach where all the rich folks send
Their little boys and girls to play, a barrel is his boat,
But, oh, the air is tifling and the dust fills up his throat;
And though he tries so very hard to play, somehow it seems
He never gets such wondrous joys as angels bring in dreams.
Poor little orphan boy of five, except that he is pale,
With sunken cheeks and hollow eyes and very wan and frail,
Just like that little boy of yours, with same desire to play,
Fond of the open fields and skies, he’s built the self-same way;
But kept by fate and circumstance away from shady streams,
His only joy comes when he sleeps and angels bring him dreams.
Search history, my boy, and see
What petty selfishness has done.
Find if you can one victory
That little minds have ever won.
There is no record there to read
Of men who fought for self alone,
No instance of a single deed
Splendor they may proudly own.
Through all life’s story you will find
The miser—with his hoarded gold—
A hermit, dreary and unkind,
An outcast from the human fold.
Men hold him up to view with scorn,
A creature by his wealth enslaved,
A spirit craven and forlorn,
Doomed by the money he has saved.
No man was ever truly great
Who sought to serve himself alone,
Who put himself above the state,
Above the friends about him thrown.
No man was ever truly glad
Who risked his joy on hoarded pelf,
And gave of nothing that he had
Through fear of needing it himself.
For selfishness is wintry cold,
And bitter are its joys at last,
The very charms it tries to hold,
With woes are quickly overcast.
And only he shall gladly live,
And bravely die when God shall call,
Who gathers but that he may give,
And with his fellows shares his all.
He has not served who gathers gold,
Nor has he served, whose life is told
In selfish battles he has won,
Or deeds of skill that he has done;
But he has served who now and then
Has helped along his fellow men.
The world needs many men today;
Red-blooded men along life’s way,
With cheerful smiles and helping hands,
And with the faith that understands
The beauty of the simple deed
Which serves another’s hour of need.
Strong men to stand beside the weak,
Kind men to hear what others speak;
True men to keep our country’s laws
And guard its honor and its cause;
Men who will bravely play life’s game
Nor ask rewards of gold and fame.
Teach me to do the best I can
To help and cheer our fellow man;
Teach me to lose my selfish need
And glory in the larger deed
Which smoothes the road, and lights the day
For all who chance to come my way.
Better than land or gold or trade
Are a high ideal and a purpose true;
Better than all of the wealth we’ve made
Is the work for others that now we do.
For Rome grew rich and she turned to song
And danced to music and drank her wine,
But she sapped the strength of her fibres strong
And a gilded shroud was her splendor fine.
The Rome of old with its wealth and wine
Was the handiwork of a sturdy race;
They builded well and they made it fine
And they dreamed of it as their children’s place.
They thought the joys they had won to give,
And which seemed so certain and fixed and sure,
To the end of time in the world would live
And the Rome they’d fashioned would long endure.
They passed to their children the hoarded gold,
Their marble halls and their fertile fields!
But not the spirit of Rome of old,
Nor the Roman courage that never yields.
They left them the wealth that their hands had won,
But they failed to leave them a purpose true.
They left them thinking life’s work all done,
And Rome went down and was lost to view.
We must guard ourselves lest we follow Rome.
We must leave our children the finer things.
We must teach them love of the spot called home
And the lasting joy that a purpose brings.
For vain are our Flag and our battles won,
And vain are our lands and our stores of gold,
If our children feel that life’s work is done.
We must give them a high ideal to hold.
I would rather see a Mason, than hear one any day,
I would rather one would walk with me than merely show the way.
The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear.
And the best of all the Masons are the men who live their creeds,
For to see the good in action is what everybody needs.
I can soon learn how to do it if you’ll let me see it done,
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lectures you deliver may be wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
A man must earn his hour of peace,
Must pay for it with hours of strife and care,
Must win by toil the evening’s sweet release,
The rest that may be portioned for his share;
The idler never knows it, never can.
Peace is the glory ever of a man.
A man must win contentment for his soul,
Must battle for it bravely day by day;
The peace he seeks is not a near-by goal;
To claim it he must tread a rugged way.
The shirker never knows a tranquil breast;
Peace but rewards the man who does his best.
A friend is one who stands to share
Your every touch of grief and care.
He comes by chance, but stays by choice;
Your praises he is quick to voice.
No grievous fault or passing whim
Can make an enemy of him.
And though your need be great or small,
His strength is yours throughout it all.
No matter where your path may turn
Your welfare is his chief concern.
No matter what your dream may be
He prays your triumph soon to see.
There is no wish your tongue can tell
But what it is your friend’s as well.
The life of him who has a friend
Is double-guarded to the end.
The joy of life is living it, or so it seems to me;
In finding shackles on your wrists, then struggling till you’re free;
In seeing wrongs and righting them, in dreaming splendid dreams,
Then toiling till the vision is as real as moving streams.
The happiest mortal on the earth is he who ends his day
By leaving better than he found to bloom along the way.
Were all things perfect here there would be naught for man to do;
If what is old were good enough we’d never need the new.
The only happy time of rest is that which follows strife
And sees some contribution made unto the joy of life.
And he who has oppression felt and conquered it is he
Who really knows the happiness and peace of being free.
The miseries of earth are here and with them all must cope.
Who seeks for joy, through hedges thick of care and pain must grope.
Through disappointment man must go to value pleasure’s thrill;
To really know the joy of health a man must first be ill.
The wrongs are here for man to right, and happiness is had
By striving to supplant with good the evil and the bad.
The joy of life is living it and doing things of worth,
In making bright and fruitful all the barren spots of earth.
In facing odds and mastering them and rising from defeat,
And making true what once was false, and what was bitter, sweet.
For only he knows perfect joy whose little bit of soil
Is richer ground than what it was when he began to toil.