The Land of Content

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I set out for the Land of Content,
   By the gay crowded pleasure-highway,
With laughter, and jesting, I went
   With the mirth-loving throng for a day;
   Then I knew I had wandered astray,
For I met returned pilgrims, belated,
Who said, "We are weary and sated,
But we found not the Land of Content."

I turned to the steep path of fame,
   I said, "It is over yon height -
This land with the beautiful name -
   Ambition will lend me its light."
   But I paused in my journey ere night,
For the way grew so lonely and troubled;
I said--my anxiety doubled -
"This is not the road to Content."

Then I joined the great rabble and throng
   That frequents the moneyed world's mart;
But the greed, and the grasping and wrong,
   Left me only one wish--to depart.
   And sickened, and saddened at heart,
I hurried away from the gateway,
For my soul and my spirit said straightway.
"This is not the road to Content."

Then weary in body and brain,
   An overgrown path I detected,
And I said "I will hide with my pain
   In this byway, unused and neglected."
   Lo! it led to the realm God selected
To crown with His best gifts of beauty,
And through the dark pathway of duty
I came to the land of Content.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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