Better Than Gold

By Father Ryan

Better than grandeur, better than gold,
Than rank and title, a thousandfold,
Is a healthy body, a mind at ease,
And simple pleasures that always please;
A heart that can feel for another’s woe,
And share his joys with genial glow,
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 a humble sphere;
Doubly blessed with content and health,
Untried by the lust or cares of wealth;
Lowly living and lofty thought
Adorn and ennoble a poor man’s cot;
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 their labors close;
Better than gold is the poor man’s sleep
And the balm that drops on his slumber deep.
Bring sleepy draughts to the downy bed,
Where luxury pillows its aching head,
But he his simple opiate deems,
A shorter route to the land of dreams.
Better than gold is the thinking mind,
That in the realm of books can find
A treasure surpassing Australian ore,
And live with the great and good of yore—
The sage’s lore and poet’s lay,
The glories of empires passed away;
The world’s great dream will thus enfold,
And yield a pleasure better than gold.
Better than gold is a peaceful home,
Where all the fire-side charities 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 center there, are better than gold.

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