BETTER THAN GOLD
Better than grandeur, better than gold,
Than rank and titles, a thousand fold,
Is a healthy body and a mind at ease,
And simple pleasures that always please
A heart that can [foul?] for another man’s woe,
With sympathies large enough to enfold
All men as brothers, is better than gold.
Better than gold is a conscience clear,
Though toiling for bread in an humble sphere
Doubly blest with content and health,
Untried by the lusts and cares of wealth,
Lowly living and lofty thought
Adorn and ennoble a poor man’s [end?]
For mind and morals in nature’s plan
Are the genuine tests of a gentleman.
Better than gold is the sweet repose
Of the sons of toil when the labour’s [e’…e];
Better than gold is the poor man’s sleep,
And the balm that [droops?] on his slumber’s deep
Bring sleeping draughts on the downy-bed
While luxury pillows its aching head,
The toiler simple opiate deems
A shorter route to the land of dreams.
Better than gold is a thinking mind
That in the realms of books can find
A treasure surpassing the Australian ore
And live with the great and good of yore,
The sage’s lore and the poet’s lay,
The glories of empires passed away;
The world’s great dream will thus unfold,
And yield a pleasure better than gold.
Better than gold is a peaceful home,
Where all the fireside characters come,
The shrine of love, the heaven of life,
Hallowed by mother, or sister or wife.
However humble the home may be,
Or tried with sorrow by heaven’s decree,
The blessings that never were bought or sold –
And [cautre?] there – are better than gold.
(Illawarra Mercury, May 24, 1884)