Work, work, my boy, be not afraid;
Look labor boldly in the face;
Take up the hammer or the spade,
And blush not for your humble place.
There's glory in the shuttle's song;
There's triumph in the anvil's stroke;
There's merit in the brave and strong
Who dig the mine or fell the oak.
The wind disturbs the sleeping lake,
And bids it ripple pure and fresh;
It moves the green boughs till they make
Grand music in their leafy mesh.
And so the active breath of life
Should stir our dull and sluggard wills;
For are we not created rife
With health, that stagnant torpor kills?
I doubt if he who lolls his head
Where idleness and plenty meet,
Enjoy his pillow or his bread
As those who earn the meals they eat.
And man is never half so blest
As when the busy day is spent
So as to make his evening rest
A holiday of glad content.
-Eliza Cook (1817-1889)
McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader