Our Duty

By Richard Lynott O'Malley

O disconsolate man, why fret and complain
That no use was thy birth, that thy life hath been vain?
Bear in mind, every mortal that ever draws breath
Has a duty assigned to fulfill before death;
And thou hast thine own, be it great, be it small,
And perhaps unaware thou art true to it all.
Hast thou e’er helped a bosom to banish distress?
Hast thou e’er helped a heart into happiness?
Hast thou played with the children, and taught them to play?
Hast thou prayed with the children, and taught them to pray?
Hast thou smiled on the good? hast thou frowned upon sin?
Hast thy heart felt the glow of true kindness within?
Ay, thy duty is such; yet it may be well done
By a tear and kind word for the desolate one;
Yea, e’en but one sigh for a mortal in pain
Were enough to convince that thy life is not vain.