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The Good Old Maxims

From the Rock Island Argus, December 22, 1913. By Henry Howland.

I like to read the maxims which
    Philosophers have made;
They tell us how we may be rich
    And wise and unafraid.

“Thrice armed is he whose quarrel’s just,”
    “Truth crushed to earth will rise,”
“Right will prevail.” “They can who must,”
    “He only wins who tries.”

“Look ere you leap.” “The rolling stone
    Accumulates no moss.”
“A cat may gaze upon a throne.”
    “Your gain’s another’s loss.”

“They cannot win who hesitate.”
    “Think twice before you speak.”
“The bough too often bent will break.”
    “They find who bravely seek.”

“A little nonsense now and then
    Is relished by the wise.”
“The sword’s less mighty than the pen.”
    “Man’s strength his need supplies.”

So down along the list it goes;
    The maxims make it clear
How each may overcome his foes
    And at the front appear.

But I am often filled with doubt,
    My faith is insecure;
The men who worked these maxims out
    All died so very poor.

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