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The Journey Home

From the Rock Island Argus, July 23, 1913. By Henry Howland.

He left the little old town, one day,
    To pursue success and to win renown;
The seasons passed in too dull a way
    To give him joy in the little old town;
In the little old town the streets were wide
    And the buildings low and pleasures cheap,
And he pitied those who were satisfied
    To stay where the people were half asleep.

He left the little old town to win
    The large rewards that to worth belong,
To add to the city’s unceasing din,
    To try his powers among the strong.
And he proudly thought, as he turned to gaze
    At the little old town in its peacefulness
Of a distant glorious day of days
    When he would return, having claimed success.

He thought of the villagers dozing there,
    Deaf to Ambition’s persuasive call,
Content, because they were free from care,
    To claim rewards that were few and small.
And he thought of a girl whose eyes were wet
    When, wishing him well, she said goodbye,
But he hurried away, to soon forget
    Where the roar was loud and the walls were high.

And often he thought in his lonely nook,
    When his muscles ached and his heart was sad,
Of the little old town with its sleepy look,
    Where the streets were wide and the children glad,
And often he thought of the peace out there,
    And often he wondered if, after all,
The people were wasting the seasons where
    The days were long and the rewards were small.

He had thought of a glorious day of days
    When he would return to the little old town
And listen to those who would give him praise
    For his proud success and his wide renown,
And tomorrow he will be traveling back,
    No more to care and no more to sigh
For the glory the little old town may lack—
    To lie and rest where his parents lie.