Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Better Things

Better to smell a violet,
Than sip the careless wine;
Better to list one music tone,
Than watch the jewels' shine.

Better to have the love of one,
Than smiles like morning dew;
Better to have a living seed
Than flowers of every hue.

Better to feel a love within,
Than be lovely to the sight;
Better a homely tenderness
Than beauty's wild delight.

Better to love than be beloved.
Though lonely all the day;
Better the fountain in the heart,
Than the fountain by the way.

Better a feeble love to God,
Than for woman's love to pine;
Better to have the making God
Than the woman made divine.

Better be fed by mother's hand,
Than eat alone at will;
Better to trust in God, than say:
My goods my storehouse fill.

Better to be a little wise
Than learned overmuch;
Better than high are lowly thoughts,
For truthful thoughts are such.

Better than thrill a listening crowd,
Sit at a wise man's feet;
But better teach a child, than toil
To make thyself complete.

Better to walk the realm unseen,
Than watch the hour's event;
Better the smile of God alway,
Than the voice of men's consent.

Better to have a quiet grief
Than a tumultuous joy;
Better than manhood, age's face,
If the heart be of a boy.

Better the thanks of one dear heart,
Than a nation's voice of praise;
Better the twilight ere the dawn,
Than yesterday's mid-blaze.

Better a death when work is done,
Than earth's most favoured birth;
Better a child in God's great house
Than the king of all the earth.


(1864)


George MacDonald