My Ambition  

I have my own ambition. It is not
   To mount on eagles' wings and soar away
Beyond the palings of the common lot,
   Scorning the griefs and joys of every day;
I would be human, toiling like the rest,
   With tender, human heart-beats in my breast.

Not on cold, lonely heights, above the ken
   Of common mortals, would I build my fame,
But in the kindly hearts of living men.
   There, if permitted, would I write my name;
Who builds above the clouds must dwell alone-
   I count good-fellowship above a throne.

And so beside my door I sit and sing
   My simple strains, now sad, now light and gay;
Happy if this or that but wake one string
   Whose low, sweet echoes give me back the lay;
And happier still if, girded by my song,
   Some strained and tempted soul stands firm and strong.

Humanity is much the same; if I
   Can give my neighbor's pent-up thought a tongue,
And can give voice to his unspoken cry
   Of bitter pain, when my own heart is wrung,
Then we two meet upon a common land,
   And henceforth stand together, hand in hand.

I send my thought its kindred thought to greet,
   Out to the far frontier, through crowded town.
Friendship is precious, sympathy is sweet
   So these be mine I ask no laurel crown.
Such my ambition, which I here unfold ;
   So it be granted, mine is wealth untold.

Ellen P. Allerton


Barrington, F. H.
Kansas Day
(Topeka: Geo. W. Crane & Company. 1892)

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February 26, 1999 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas /

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