by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
This game of life is a dangerous play,
Each human soul must watch alway,
From the first to the very last.
I care not however strong and pure --
Let no man say he is perfectly sure
The dangerous reefs are past.
For many a rock may lurk near by,
That never is seen when the tide is high --
Let no man dare to boast,
When the hand is full of trumps -- beware,
For that is the time when thought and care
And nerve are needed most.
As the oldest jockey knows to his cost,
Full many a well-run race is lost
A brief half length from the wire.
And many a soul that has fought with sin,
And gained each battle, at last gives in
To sudden, fierce desire.
And vain seems the effort of spur and whip,
Or the hoarse, hot cry of the pallid lip,
When once we have fallen back.
It is better to keep on stirrup and rein,
The steady poise and the careful strain,
In speeding along Life's track.
A watchful eye and a strong, true hand
Will carry us under the Judge's stand,
If prayer, too, does its part;
And little by little the struggling soul
Will grow and strengthen and gain control
Over the passionate heart.
Source:Poems of Sentiment
Gay And Hancock, Ltd., London