N   (Poems/Prose  @ www.HappyOtter.Com)


NOBILITY

True worth is in being, not seeming, --
In doing, each day that goes by,
Some little good - not in dreaming
Of great things to do by and by.
For whatever men say in their blindness,
And spite of the fancies of youth,
There's nothing so kingly as kindness,
And nothing so royal as truth.

We get back our mete as we measure--
We cannot do wrong and feel right,
Nor can we give pain and gain pleasure,
For justice avenges each slight.
The air for the wing of the sparrow,
The bush for the robin and wren,
But always the path that is narrow
And straight, for the children of men.

'Tis not in the pages of story
The heart of its ills to beguile,
Though he who makes courtship to glory
Gives all that he hath for her smile.
For when from her heights he has won her,
Alas! it is only to prove
That nothing's so sacred as honor,
And nothing so loyal as love!

We cannot make bargains for blisses,
Nor catch them like fishes in nets;
And sometimes the thing our life misses
Helps more than the thing which it gets.
For good lieth not in pursuing,
Nor gaining of great nor of small,
But just in the doing, and doing
As we would be done by, is all.

Through envy, through malice, through hating,
Against the world, early and late,
No jot of our courage abating --
Our part is to work and to wait.
And slight is the sting of his trouble
Whose winnings are less than his worth;
For he who is honest in noble,
Whatever his fortunes of birth.

--A. Cary


THE NOBLEST OCCUPATION

What egregious fools are we! He hath passed his life in idleness, say we: "Alas, I have done nothing this day." What? have you not lived? It is not only the fundamental but the noblest of your occupation. "Had I been placed or thought fit for the managing of great affairs, I would have showed what I could have performed." Have you known how to meditate and manage your life? you have accomplished the greatest work of all.... Have you known how to compose your manners? you have done more than he who hath composed books. Have you known how to take rest? you have done more than he who hath taken Empires and Cities. The glorious masterpiece of man is to live to the purpose. All other things, as to reign, to govern, to hoard up treasure, to thrive and to build, are for the most part but appendixes and supports thereunto.

--Montaigne (Translator: William Hazlitt)


NOW IS THE DAY

You who are letting miserable misunderstandings run from year to year, meaning to clear them up someday; you who are keeping wretched quarrels alive because you cannot quite make up your minds that now is the day to sacrifice your pride and kill them; you who are passing men sullenly upon the street, not speaking to them out of some silly spite, and yet knowing that it would fill you with shame and remorse if you heard that one of them were dead tomorrow morning; you who are letting your neighbor starve, till you hear that he is dying of starvation; or letting your friend's heart ache for a word of appreciation or sympathy, which you mean to give him someday; if you could only know and see and feel, all of a sudden, that "the time is short," how it would break the spell! How you would go instantly and do the thing which you might never have another chance to do!

--Phillips Brooks