Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. I. Of Home: of Friendship
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume I. Of Home: of Friendship.  1904.
Poems of Home: V. The Home
Labor Song
Denis Florence Mac Carthy (1817–1882)
From “The Bell-Founder”

AH! little they know of true happiness, they whom satiety fills,
Who, flung on the rich breast of luxury, eat of the rankness that kills.
Ah! little they know of the blessedness toil-purchased slumber enjoys
Who, stretched on the hard rack of indolence, taste of the sleep that destroys:
Nothing to hope for, or labor for; nothing to sigh for, or gain;        5
Nothing to light in its vividness, lightning-like, bosom and brain;
Nothing to break life’s monotony, rippling it o’er with its breath;—
Nothing but dulness and lethargy, weariness, sorrow, and death!
But blessèd that child of humanity, happiest man among men,
Who, with hammer or chisel or pencil, with rudder or ploughshare or pen,        10
Laboreth ever and ever with hope through the morning of life,
Winning home and its darling divinities,—love-worshipped children and wife.
Round swings the hammer of industry, quickly the sharp chisel rings,
And the heart of the toiler has throbbings that stir not the bosom of kings,—
He the true ruler and conqueror, he the true king of his race,        15
Who nerveth his arm for life’s combat, and looks the strong world in the face.

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