Better than Gold

A poem by Abram Joseph Ryan

Better than grandeur, better than gold,
Than rank and titles a thousand fold,
Is a healthy body and a mind at ease,
And simple pleasures that always please
A heart that can feel for another's woe,
With sympathies large enough to enfold
All men as brothers, is better than gold.

Better than gold is a conscience clear,
Though toiling for bread in an humble sphere,
Doubly blessed with content and health,
Untried by the lusts and cares of wealth,
Lowly living and lofty thought
Adorn and ennoble a poor man's cot;
For mind and morals in nature's plan
Are the genuine tests of a gentleman.

Better than gold is the sweet repose
Of the sons of toil when the labors close;
Better than gold is the poor man's sleep,
And the balm that drops on his slumbers deep.
Bring sleeping draughts on the downy bed,
Where luxury pillows its aching head,
The toiler simple opiate deems
A shorter route to the land of dreams.

Better than gold is a thinking mind,
That in the realm of books can find
A treasure surpassing Australian ore,
And live with the great and good of yore.
The sage's lore and the poet's lay,
The glories of empires passed away;
The world's great dream will thus unfold
And yield a pleasure better than gold.

Better than gold is a peaceful home
Where all the fireside characters come,
The shrine of love, the heaven of life,
Hallowed by mother, or sister, or wife.
However humble the home may be,
Or tried with sorrow by heaven's decree,
The blessings that never were bought or sold,
And centre there, are better than gold.

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