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Get the Money

From the Rock Island Argus, February 19, 1914. By Henry Howland.

“Oh, I’ve done well today,” he said;
“I gave a man whose hope had fled
New hope and saw him push ahead.”
    His wife asked: “Where’s the money?
You gave another hope, you say;
    What profit have you in return?
No footman waits on me today,
    And it is little that you earn—
        Where’s the money?”

“Oh, I’ve done well,” he said again;
“A golden sentence from my pen
Has earned the praise of thoughtful men.”
    His wife asked: “Where’s the money?
Your golden sentences may please
    A few poor pedants, grave and old,
But they who live in splendid ease
    Still scorn us for our lack of gold—
        Where’s the money?”

“Oh, I’ve done well,” he said once more;
“In future men will praise my lore
And wear a pathway to my door.”
    His wife asked: “Where’s the money?
Who cares what future men may say?
    I still am forced to skimp and save;
What will it matter if some day
    Men pile their tributes on your grave?
        Where’s the money?”

He bravely went his way to do
The best he might, to still pursue
The course that had been found by few;
    The world asked: “Where’s the money?”
He wisely served posterity
    And earned a future, lasting fame;
But, scorned by those about him, he
    Forever heard the world exclaim:
        “Where’s the money?”

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