by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Life is real, life is earnest,
And the shell is not its pen –
“Egg thou art, and egg remainest”
Was not spoken of the hen.
Art is long and Time is fleeting,
Be our bills then sharpened well,
And not like muffled drums be beating
On the inside of the shell.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the great barnyard of life,
Be not like those lazy cattle!
Be a rooster in the strife!
Lives of roosters all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime,
And when roasted, leave behind us,
Hen tracks on the sands of time.
Hen tracks that perhaps another
Chicken drooping in the rain,
Some forlorn and henpecked brother,
When he sees, shall crow again.