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A Dozen Men in One

From the Newark Evening Star, March 6, 1914. By Thomas F. Porter.

How many men fail of success
And bring upon themselves distress,
Because year after year they wait
Ere they their powers concentrate.
They flit about on roving wing
And never stick to anything;
So of each task they undertake
A failure they are sure to make.

A while they work with zeal intense,
But soon a different task commence,
When, meeting with some slight reverse,
They change again, perhaps to worse;
And so they turn about, and shift,
With no direction idly drift,
And think, like many another dunce
To be a dozen men at once.

Noting how little some folks work,
Their tasks they are inclined to shirk;
Seeing how others forge ahead,
To follow them they oft are led;
Unsuited to the work, they fail,
And then at Fate they wrongly rail,
Or, making but a slight advance
Claim that they never had a chance.

Though there are dangers in a rut,
To this our eyes we must not shut:
If we in some one line would win,
At once our task we must begin,
And not too much our powers divide
Upon a thousand things outside;
Nor e’er attempt, in work or fun,
To be a dozen men in one.

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