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The Real Friend

From the Omaha Daily Bee, September 11, 1912.

 If ever I find a people’s friend,
   Who does not brag about himself;
 And doesn’t seek some selfish end;
   Is not acquiring wads of pelf,
 But strives in honor day by day
   And always does the best he can
 To smooth the rough and rugged way,
   Over which must pass his fellow-man,
 I’ll cling to him with all my might,
   And sing his praises as I go.
 His speech will not be stale and trite,
   And in his eyes a light will glow.
 He will not spend his days in ease,
   While busy men are at their work.
 Mouthing the phrases thought to please
   To hide the fact that he’s a shirk.
 Nor will his bank account grow fat
   The while he fights the people’s cause;
 He will not seek the glory that
   Depends alone on men’s applause.
 But if he loves his fellow-men,
   And tolls for them, he will not care
 That he must labor often when
   There’s neither cheers nor spotlight’s glare.
 Too many pose as public friends
   Who merely work their tireless jaws,
 And use, to cover selfish ends,
   The mantle of the people’s cause.
 Too many drop all useless work
   To thrive upon this empty plea,
 That all the burdens now that irk
   Some day they’ll take from you and me.
 A people’s friend is one who strives
   Without a thought of gain or fame,
 To happier, better make our lives
   Than what they were before he came.

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