In journeying o'er life's highway
  Where tread so many feet,
And people of all classes,
  Must sometimes pass, or meet,
I think, for friends or neighbors,
  If I set out in quest,
I'd choose the "common people."
  I find I like them best.

I'd look for truest heart-friends,
  In all the human race,
Not in the highest station--
  Not in the lowliest place,
But 'mong the common people--
  Who, neither rich nor poor,
Rejoice in some few comforts,
  While toiling on for more.

Some long to dwell 'mong authors--
  With great and gifted men;
I like to listen to them,
  And meet them now and then,
But those who climb for glory
  Dwell so much in the skies,
They cannot read their neighbor's hearts--
  For all they may be wise.

I like the common people,
  Who have not wealth, or fame,
Who own no greater riches
  Than a humble home and name.
Among these unknown toilers
  In life's great thronged marts--
I find the deepest thinkers--
  I find the truest hearts.

Some long to dwell with princes,
  Who breathe but perfumed air;
What with their forms and fashions
  But little comfort's there.
And lives so used to plenty,
  And hearts so bent on "style,"
Can scarcely understand the needs
  Of lowlier lives the while.

To reach "exclusive" circles,
  Some think the height of bliss.
I want a wider kingdom--
  A freer range than this.
Out on the common highways,
  Where common feet have trod,
I feel myself on broader grounds--
  And nearer to my God.

Give me the common people--
  Who walk the common ways.
They've time to think of others' woes--
  To sing another's praise.
They dare to laugh in God's fresh air,
  They walk untrammeled--free--
With hearts that feel for more than self,
  These are the friends for me.

Maurine by Ella Wheeler
Milwaukee: Cramer, Aikens & Cramer, 1876.

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