I sang me a song, a tiny song,
A song that was sweet to my soul,
And set it a-float on the sea of chance
In search of a happy goal.
I said to my song: “Go on, go on
And lodge in a tender spot
Of some human soul where the fires of hate
And selfishness are not.”
My song went on but a little space
And hied it back to me;
And fell at my feet in a sorry plight—
The victim of cruelty.
I gazed a moment and quickly saw
Just how it had come about,
A cruel critic had caught my song
And probed the soul of it out.
O, poor indeed is the human mind
(And why was it ever wrought?)
That can thrive on husk in the form of words,
And not on a sturdy thought.
Dr. Booker T. Washington to the National Negro Business League
’Tis strange indeed to hear us plead For selling and for buying When yesterday we said: “Away With all good things but dying.” The world’s ago, and we’re agog To have our first brief inning; So let’s away through surge and fog However slight the winning. What deeds have sprung from plow and pick! What bank-rolls from tomatoes! No dainty crop of rhetoric Can match one of potatoes. Ye orators of point and pith, Who force the world to heed you, What skeletons you’ll journey with Ere it is forced to feed you. A little gold won’t mar our grace, A little ease our glory. This world’s a better biding place When money clinks its story.