Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Nov. 5, 1850 - Oct. 30, 1919

 

What We Need

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

What does our country need? Not armies standing
With sabres gleaming ready for the fight.
Not increased navies, skillful and commanding,
To bound the waters with an iron might.
Not haughty men with glutted purses trying
To purchase souls, and keep the power of place.
Not jewelled dolls with one another vying
For palms of beauty, elegance, and grace.

But we want women, strong of soul, yet lowly,
With that rare meekness, born of gentleness,
Women whose lives are pure and clean and holy,
The women whom all little children bless.
Brave, earnest women, helpful to each other,
With finest scorn for all things low and mean;
Women who hold the names of wife and mother
Far nobler than the title of a Queen.

Oh, these are they who mould the men of story,
These mothers, ofttimes shorn of grace and youth,
Who, worn and weary, ask no greater glory
Than making some young soul the home of truth;
Who sow in hearts all fallow for the sowing
The seeds of virtue and of scorn for sin,
And, patient, watch the beauteous harvest growing
And weed out tares which crafty hands cast in.

Women who do not hold the gift of beauty
As some rare treasure to be bought and sold,
But guard it as a precious aid to duty --
The outer framing of the inner gold;
Women who, low above their cradles bending,
Let flattery's voice go by, and give no heed,
While their pure prayers like incense are ascending;
These are our country's pride, our country's need.

Source:

Poems of Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Copyright 1910
W.P. Nimmo, Hay, and Mitchell, Edinburgh
 

Recommended Works

The Salt Sea-Wind - Ella Wheeler WilcoxThe Bells - Edgar Allan PoeWoman - Ella Wheeler WilcoxThe Old Clock On The Stairs - Henry Wadsworth LongfellowIn Flanders Fields - John McCraeThe Family - Bayard TaylorThe Husband Speaks - Elizabeth StoddardWe Are Seven - William WordsworthThe Soul's Expression - Elizabeth Barrett BrowningConstancy - Ella Wheeler WilcoxO Lay Thy Hand In Mine, Dear! - Gerald MasseyThe Rose - James Whitcomb RileyEndymion - Henry Wadsworth LongfellowStrange Meeting - Wilfred OwenContentment - Oliver Wendell HolmesTo Autumn - John KeatsAchievements - Ella Wheeler WilcoxTo A Blank Sheet Of Paper - Oliver Wendell HolmesLove's Extravagance - Ella Wheeler WilcoxWhat We Need - Ella Wheeler WilcoxMomus, God Of Laughter - Ella Wheeler WilcoxFalse Poets And True - Thomas HoodMistakes - Ella Wheeler WilcoxThe Favorite Flower - Celia ThaxterThe Rock-A-By Lady - Eugene FieldWedded Love - James NackThe Beautiful Land Of Nod - Ella Wheeler WilcoxThe Wife Speaks - Elizabeth StoddardRain And Wind - Madison Julius CaweinWas, Is, And Yet-To-Be - Ella Wheeler WilcoxThe Mother's Pride - James NackMadeline - Henry TimrodLost At Sea - Thomas Bailey AldrichTis Sweet To Think - Thomas MooreThe Flowers In The Cemetery - Hannah Flagg GouldSpoken - Helen Hunt JacksonWhat Love Is - Ella Wheeler WilcoxAvenging and Bright Fell The Swift Sword Of Erin - Thomas MooreSand Of The Desert In An Hour-Glass - Henry Wadsworth LongfellowThou Art, O God - Thomas MooreCold And Quiet - Jean IngelowThe Bells of Lynn - Henry Wadsworth LongfellowRemember The Alamo - Rose Hartwick ThorpeEpitaph On Holy Willie - Robert BurnsDaily Trials - Oliver Wendell HolmesThe Sandpiper - Celia ThaxterFishing - Ella Wheeler WilcoxThe Iron Pen - Henry Wadsworth LongfellowEndure - Achsa White SpragueThe House Of Clouds - Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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