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The Day’s Work

From the Rock Island Argus, June 3, 1914. By Henry Howland.

The Slave:

With weary brain and aching heart
    He greets another day;
He sadly stumbles forth to start
    Upon his weary way;
The sun may shine above his head and accented breezes blow,
But what mean fair, blue skies to him that need compels to go
    To labor where no sunshine falls,
    Shut in by cheerless, dingy walls,
Estranged from all but woe?

“The day is done,” he sadly sighs;
    What has it brought to me?
The sunset’s glow is on the skies—
    Why should I turn to see?
I am condemned to live and toil the heavy hours away;
Tomorrow I shall still be where I started yesterday;
    By circumstance to service bound,
    I must pursue a cheerless round,
And hurry to obey.

The Lover:

The sunbeams play across his way,
    And blossoms that are sweet
Come drifting from the trees to stray
    About his eager feet;
He hurries onward hopefully where duties claim his care,
And claims the pleasures that arise from faithful service there—
    And in his heart he bears along
    A little of the West Wind’s song,
And all his world is fair.

“How fair the day has been,” he cries,
    When evening’s shadows spread;
“How rich a glow is in the skies,
    How fair the way ahead!
Sweet songs have sweetly haunted me through all the splendid day,
And Hope is calling bravely while I hurry on my way
    To smiling lips and loving arms—
    My path is through a land of charms
Where friendly fairies play.”

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