Be Courteous.

A poem by Hattie Howard

Ah, yes; why not? Is one more adventitious born
Than others - shekels richer, honors fuller, and all that -
That he can pass his fellows by with lofty scorn,
Nor even show this slight regard - the lifting of the hat?

Why prate of social status, class, or rank when earth
Is common tenting-ground, the heritage of all mankind?
Except in purity is there no royal birth,
No true nobility but nobleness of heart and mind.

Life is so short - one journey long, a pilgrimage
That we cannot retrace, nor ever pass this way again;
Then why not turn for some poor soul a brighter page,
And line the way with courtesies unto our fellow-men?

To give a graceful word or smile, or lend a hand
To one downcast and trembling on the borders of despair,
May help him to look up and better understand
Why God has made the sky so bright and put the rainbow there.

Be courteous! is nothing helpful half so cheap
As kind urbanity that doth so much of gladness bring;
More precious too than all the treasures of the deep,
Making the winter of discomfort seem like joyous spring.

Be courteous and gentle! be serene and good!
Those grand ennobling and enduring virtues all may claim;
Of each may it be said, of the great multitude:
Oh that my life were more like such an one of blessed fame!

Is it that over-crowding, care, anxiety,
Vortex of pleasure, the incessant round of toil and strife,
Beget indifference, repressing love and sympathy,
Till we forget the beautiful amenities of life?

Then cometh a sad day, when with a poignant sting
Lost opportunities shall speak to us reproachfully;
And ours shall be the disapproval of the King -
"Discourteous to these, my creatures, ye have wounded Me."

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