Better Things

A poem by George MacDonald

Better to smell the violet
Than sip the glowing wine;
Better to hearken to a brook
Than watch a diamond shine.

Better to have a loving friend
Than ten admiring foes;
Better a daisy's earthy root
Than a gorgeous, dying rose.

Better to love in loneliness
Than bask in love all day;
Better the fountain in the heart
Than the fountain by the way.

Better be fed by mother's hand
Than eat alone at will;
Better to trust in God, than say,
My goods my storehouse fill.

Better to be a little wise
Than in knowledge to abound;
Better to teach a child than toil
To fill perfection's round.

Better to sit at some man's feet
Than thrill a listening state;
Better suspect that thou art proud
Than be sure that thou art great.

Better to walk the realm unseen
Than watch the hour's event;
Better the Well done, faithful slave!
Than the air with shoutings rent.

Better to have a quiet grief
Than many turbulent joys;
Better to miss thy manhood's aim
Than sacrifice the boy's.

Better a death when work is done
Than earth's most favoured birth;
Better a child in God's great house
Than the king of all the earth.

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