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Man Who Didn’t Succeed

From the Omaha Daily Bee, February 3, 1915. By Peter Reed.

They sing of the men who build the mills
And girdle the earth with steel;
Who fill the hour and wield the power
That moulds the public weal.
Honor to them that in honor do
The work that the world must need,
And yet in chief I hold a brief
For the Man Who Didn’t Succeed.

’Tis not to excuse the indolent;
Nor plea for the down and out;
Nor specious rot condemning what
The leaders are about.
Merely to ask in a casual way
Of those who chance to read,
For fairer view, and kinder, too,
Of the Man Who Didn’t Succeed.

His house is small, his table light;
His family must endure
The snubs and sneers of the buccaneers
Whose debts fall on the poor.
Yet his is a home and no hotel,
His wife is a wife, indeed.
There’s nothing above his children’s love
To the Man Who Didn’t Succeed.

Admitting it’s true that he did not make
The most of his talents ten,
He won no pelf nor raised himself
At the cost of his fellowmen.
His hands are clean, his heart is white,
His honor has been his creed—
Now who are we to say that he
Is the Man Who Didn’t Succeed?

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