Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. I. Of Home: of Friendship
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume I. Of Home: of Friendship.  1904.
 
Poems of Home: IV. Youth
The Heritage
James Russell Lowell (1819–1891)
 
THE RICH man’s son inherits lands,
  And piles of brick, and stone, and gold,
And he inherits soft, white hands,
  And tender flesh that fears the cold,
  Nor dares to wear a garment old;        5
A heritage, it seems to me,
One scarce would wish to hold in fee.
 
The rich man’s son inherits cares;
  The bank may break, the factory burn,
A breath may burst his bubble shares;        10
  And soft, white hands could scarcely earn
  A living that would serve his turn;
A heritage, it seems to me,
One scarce would wish to hold in fee.
 
The rich man’s son inherits wants,        15
  His stomach craves for dainty fare;
With sated heart he hears the pants
  Of toiling hinds with brown arms bare,
  And wearies in his easy chair;
A heritage it seems to me,        20
One scarce would wish to hold in fee.
 
What doth the poor man’s son inherit?
  Stout muscles and a sinewy heart,
A hardy frame, a hardier spirit;
  King of two hands, he does his part        25
  In every useful toil and art;
A heritage, it seems to me,
A king might wish to hold in fee.
 
What doth the poor man’s son inherit?
  Wishes o’erjoyed with humble things,        30
A rank adjudged by toil-worn merit,
  Content that from employment springs.
  A heart that in his labor sings;
A heritage, it seems to me,
A king might wish to hold in fee.        35
 
What doth the poor man’s son inherit?
  A patience learned of being poor;
Courage, if sorrow come, to bear it.
  A fellow-feeling that is sure
  To make the outcast bless his door;        40
A heritage, it seems to me,
A king might wish to hold in fee.
 
O, rich man’s son! there is a toil
  That with all others level stands;
Large charity doth never soil,        45
  But only whiten, soft white hands—
  This is the best crop from thy lands;
A heritage it seems to me,
Worth being rich to hold in fee.
 
O, poor man’s son! scorn not thy state;        50
  There is worse weariness than thine,
In merely being rich and great;
  Toil only gives the soul to shine,
  And makes rest fragrant and benign—
A heritage, it seems to me,        55
Worth being poor to hold in fee.
 
Both, heirs to some six feet of sod,
  Are equal in the earth at last;
Both, children of the same dear God,
  Prove title to your heirship vast        60
  By record of a well-filled past—
A heritage, it seems to me,
Well worth a life to hold in fee.
 
 
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors