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Poor Young Man

From the Rock Island Argus, May 30, 1913.
 By S. E. Kiser.

 Ah, poor young man! He has no chance to show his worth;
 No undiscovered continents are left on earth;
 Columbus, had it been his fate to live today
 Might serve beneath some section boss for little pay.
 Oh, poor young man! He cannot use his gifts, alack!
 No Austerlitz remains to lose, no Rome to sack.
 The past has both Thermopylae and Waterloo—
 What is there that the poor young man may hope to do?
 Newton, Galileo, Morse, have lived and wrought;
 Homer, Shakespeare, Milton, Pope, and Burns and Scott!
 Ah, if they had not written all there was to write
 He might take up his pen and give the world delight.
 Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt—how with paint and brush
 May be expected to be supreme? Huge vessels rush
 From hemisphere to hemisphere, the winds defying
 Because a Fulton had a plan he thought worth trying.
 Oh, poor young man! He sits downcast, no chance remains
 For him to nobly free a race from galling chains.
 The great things have been done, alas! By craft or stealth
 The magnates have become possessed of all the wealth.
 The world has ceased to need men who were born to lead;
 He may not join the splendid few. ’Tis sad indeed!
 He came too late to win renown or claim applause;
 He has no chance to be supreme in any cause.
 Ah, poor young man! How sad his fate, how drear his lot.
 To have no hope of being great!—And yet, why not?
 At Homer many, many a man stuck out his tongue
 And told him that the greatest songs had all been sung.

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