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Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 4

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  Better than grandeur, better than gold,  Than rank and titles a thousand fold,  Is a healthy body, a mind at ease,  And simple pleasures' that always please.  A heart that can feel for another's woe,  And share his joys with a genial glow,  With sympathies large enough to enfold  All men as brothers, is better than gold.

  Better than gold is a conscience clear,  Though toiling for bread in an humble sphere,  Doubly blessed with content and health,  Untried by the lusts and cares of wealth,  Lowly living and lofty thought  Adorn and ennoble a poor man's cot;  For mind and morals in nature's plan  Are the genuine tests of a gentleman.

  Better than gold is the sweet repose  Of the sons of toil when the labors close;  Better than gold is the poor man's sleep,  And the balm that drops on his slumbers deep.  Bring sleeping draughts to the downy bed,  Where luxury pillows its aching head,  The toiler simple opiate deems  A shorter route to the land of dreams.

  Better than gold is a thinking mind,  That in the realm of books can find  A treasure surpassing Australian ore,  And live with the great and good of yore.  The sage's lore and the poet's lay,  The glories of empires passed away;  The world's great drama will thus unfold  And yield a pleasure better than gold.

  Better than gold is a peaceful home  Where all the fireside characters come,  The shrine of love, the heaven of life,  Hallowed by mother, or sister, or wife.  However humble the home may be,  Or tried with sorrow by heaven's decree,  The blessings that never were bought or sold,  And center there, are better than gold.



  My heart leaps up when I behold    A rainbow in the sky;  So was it when my life began;  So is it now I am a man;  So be it when I shall grow old,    Or let me die!  The Child is father of the Man;  And I could wish my days to be  Bound each to each by natural piety.



Blessings on thee, little man,Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!With thy turned-up pantaloons,And thy merry whistled tunes;With thy red lip, redder stillKissed by strawberries on the hill;With the sunshine on thy face,Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace;From my heart I give thee joy,—I was once a barefoot boy!Prince thou art,—the grown-up manOnly is republican.Let the million-dollared ride!Barefoot, trudging at his side,Thou hast more than he can buyIn the reach of ear and eye,—Outward sunshine, inward joy;Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!

  O for boyhood's painless play,Sleep that wakes in laughing day,Health that mocks the doctor's rules,Knowledge never learned of schools,Of the wild bee's morning chase,Of the wild flower's time and place,Flight of fowl and habitudeOf the tenants of the wood;How the tortoise bears his shell,How the woodchuck digs his cell,And the ground-mole sinks his well;How the robin feeds her young,How the oriole's nest is hung;Where the whitest lilies blow,Where the freshest berries blow,Where the ground-nut trails its vine,Where the wood-grape's clusters shine;Of the black wasp's cunning way,Mason of his walls of clay,And the architectural plansOf gray hornet artisans...!