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(5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin)

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What is the end of each man's toil,
Brother, O Brother?
A handful of dust in a bit of soil-
His name forgotten as centuries roll,
Though blazoned to-day on Glory's scroll;
For the lordliest work of brain or hand
Is only an imprint made on sand;
When the tidal wave sweeps over the shore
It is there no more,
Brother, my Brother.


Then what is the use of striving at all,
Brother, O Brother?
Because each effort or great or small
Is a step on the long, long road that leads
To the Kingdom of Growth on the River of Deeds:
And that is the kingdom no man can gain
Till he uses his hand and his mind and brain,
And when he has used them and learned control
He finds his soul,
Brother, my Brother.


And after he finds it, what is the end,
Brother, O Brother?
Upward ever its course and trend;
For this is the purpose and aim and plan
To seek in the soul for the Super-man-
The man who is conscious that Heaven is near-
A bulletin bearer from There to Here,
Finding God dwells in the spirit within
Where He ever has been,
Brother, my Brother.


And what will the God-man do when He comes,
Brother, O Brother?
He will better the world or in courts or slums,
He will do in gladness his nearest duty:
He will teach the religion of love and beauty
In field or factory, mine or mart,
While He tells the world of the larger part
And the wider life that is yet to be
When spirit is free,
Brother, my Brother.


When spirit is free, then where will it go,
Brother, O Brother?
Its uttermost summit no man may know,
For it goes up to God in His holy Tower
To gather more knowledge and force and power;
Like a ray of the sun it shall shine again
To brighten new planets and races of men.
Life had no beginning, life has no end,
Brother and friend-
Brother, my Brother.

Submitted: Friday, April 02, 2010


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