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To Whom Honor is Due

From the Rock Island Argus, January 10, 1914. By Henry Howland.

The world will give applause to him who rules in great affairs,
To him who in a lofty place assumes a nation’s cares;
His name is passed from lip to lip, his fame is spread abroad,
And they are envied whom he deigns to please with smile or nod;
But there’s another, poor perhaps, unhonored and unknown,
To whom I raise my hat, because of worth that is his own—
The honest man who daily does the best that he may do
And makes the world his debtor for a worthy son or two.

The crowds will gladly shout his name who guides a splendid fleet
And makes his country’s foemen feel the sorrow of defeat;
For him the waiting bands will play, for him the flags will fly,
For him the people will applaud and raise the arches high;
But while they crown him and are glad to stand and watch him pass
I lift my hat to one for whom there is no sounding brass—
The honest man whose sons are taught so they may understand
The worth of honor and the debt they owe their native land.

The world will give sweet praise to him who has enriched its art,
And learn to prize the poet’s song if it shall touch the heart.
There will be high rewards for them who govern and direct,
The warrior and the statesman will be named with the elect;
But there is one whom few will deign to gladden with applause,
Though all his efforts, all his hopes, involve a worthy cause—
The honest man whose sons are taught that honor still is good,
Who, all unnoticed, triumphs in his right of parenthood.

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