I saw two youths: both were fair in the face,
They had set out foot to foot in life's race;
But one said to the other, "I say now, my brother,
You are going a little too slow;
The world will look on, and say, 'See Josy John,'
We must put on more style, now, you know."
So he tipped a plug hat on one side of his pate,
And strutted along with a Jockey Club gait;
And he carried a cane, and said, "It is plain,
I am too fine a fellow to toil.
I can gamble and bet, and a good living get;
But my hands are too pretty to soil.
"My friend in the rear, you are slow, I am fast;
I am up with the times--I am first, you are last.
So I guess I will leave you--aw, if it won't grieve you;
I'll wait for you when I get through;
Or, when up on the hill, I'll remem-bah you still,
And--aw, mayhap I'll come and help you."
I saw him pass on with a strut through the street;
Saw him stopped by a score of "good boys" for a treat.
While the calm "Josy John" went quietly on,
And kept his lips free from the bowl;
Worked at whatever came, turned from sin and from shame,
And wrote "Purity," "Truth," in his soul.
I saw two men: one was fair to behold;
The other, a drunken sot, bloated and bold.
One stood on the mountain and drank of God's fountain,
The other drank beer in the street.
Yet both started alike; but one made a "strike,"
Which ended, you see, in defeat.
Drops of Water: Poems by Ella Wheeler
New York : The National Temperance Society and Publication House, 1872.
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