Like Bunyan's pilgrim with his pack, Forth went the dreaming youth To seek, to find, and make his own Wisdom, virtue, and truth. Life was his book, and patiently He studied each hard page; By turns reformer, outcast, priest, Philosopher and sage. Christ was his Master, and he made His life a gospel sweet; Plato and Pythagoras in him Found a disciple meet. The noblest and best his friends, Faithful and fond, though few; Eager to listen, learn, and pay The love and honor due. Power and place, silver and gold, He neither asked nor sought; Only to serve his fellowmen, With heart and word and thought. A pilgrim still, but in his pack No sins to frighten or oppress; But wisdom, morals, piety, To teach, to warn and bless. The world passed by, nor cared to take The treasure he could give; Apart he sat, content to wait And beautifully live; Unsaddened by long, lonely years Of want, neglect, and wrong, His soul to him a kingdom was, Steadfast, serene, and strong. Magnanimous and pure his life, Tranquil its happy end; Patience and peace his handmaids were, Death an immortal friend. For him no monuments need rise, No laurels make his pall; The mem'ry of the good and wise Outshines, outlives them all.
This poem is featured in our selection of 100 Great Poems.
You may also enjoy Alcott's touching poem admiring his daughter's service during the Civil War, written by her father, To Louisa May Alcott. By Her Father.