Sunday, March 6, 2011


This is a poem which has been shared with me by a long time friend, George Woodworth.  It is not my friend who wrote it but a long past relative of his, his grandfather, George W. Woodworth.  This man's writings were published often in the Milwaukee newspaper of the time as is noted at the end of the composition.  Most of the poems are not of a religious or spiritual tone, but there are some, like this one, with a powerful religious message.  In this singular instance the author echoes my sentiments about "No Crying at my Funeral."  I hope you enjoy this profound reflection about a righteous life, a song, never sung but by the church of the soul of the writer and in the hearts of his readers.
Paul Dion, STL, Theology Editor

Let not Despair usurp the throne, where Hope should reign supreme;
And be not guided in your course by phantoms of a dream;
Not blindly wander here and there, a follower of chance;
But rather tread a beaten path, though slowly you advance.

For wisdom seek, and friendship prize above the state of wealth;
And venture not, for paltry gain, the treasure of your health.
Let manhood be your study, and improvement be your aim;
Inertness may be peace, but I would not remain the same.

‘Tis knowledge sways the minds of men, and holds the world in awe;
All nature is prepared to serve the one, who knows her law;
And who would be a sordid slave, a stupid, brutal clod,
When, if he chose, he might approach the glory of our God?

Ambition, it may be a curse, if justice guides it not;
But honor to the soul that strives, and would not be forgot!
And highest honor be to him, the impulse of whose mind
Is only to succeed, that he may bless his fellow kind.

Then let us all, within our sphere, for better prospects try,
Respecting, helping those we meet, and stifling ev’ry sigh;
So onward, upward, every day, in pleasure or in pain,
Our lives shall be a proof that we have lived them not in vain;

Our labor shall be happiness, and, when our eyelids close,
Contented thoughts shall fill our dreams and sweeten our repose;
And when above our pallid brow, the angel Death shall wave
His sable pinions, we shall not be frightened by the grave;
But calmly looking o’er the race, which we below have run,
Shall hope to hear our Father say, “Well done, my son, well done.”

Reward complete of perfect joy, and everlasting rest,
Shall be our own, when we shall reach the haven of the Blest;
And well can we afford to scorn our earthly load of care,
Supported by the thought that we shall have no burdens there.

Our lamp of life has brightly burned to cheer our fellow-kind;
Our memory shall linger still in ev’ry loving mind;
Thus death shall have for us no sting, no victory the grave;
But all triumphant shall we pass across the Jordan’s wave.

Date of composition:  February 17, 1891
Copied from:
· “Select Poems” by George W. Woodworth
· Newspaper clipping by George W. Woodworth

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