The Creed of Old George Jones

A little of fretting, a little of getting,
A little of slaving and saving, may be;
A little of spending, a little of lending
And giving up living be easy and free:
But a man gathers, and all a man owns
Goes out at the finish (said old George Jones)
Like a spark in the dark, and the sum of his trying,
A name and a memory drifting and dying.

A little of blund'ring, a little of wond'ring,
A little of scheming and dreaming when young;
A little of grieving; a little believing,
In secret, strange things that come slow to the tongue;
For every man is a being apart,
And none may look deep in his fellow-man's heart
Scholars and strangers, chance met in life's college;
But tolerance grows with the sum of our knowledge.

And I, who have tarried o'er long with the living,
Have come to a creed that gives hope of content;
In getting and spending is grief; but in giving
Is all that this riddle of life ever meant.
For life is a riddle; an, tho' I grow old,
Still fit as a fiddle, to one creed I hold:
'Tis getting moves man while to life he is cleaving;
But giving looms large when it comes to his leaving.

A little of sorrow, of plans for tomorrow,
A little of helping the weak and the fool;
A little of laughter, and all that comes after
Is one lesson learned in life's arduous school,
For all a man gathers, and all a man owns
But ends in a heartache (said old George Jones),
Like a spark in the dark comes an end to his living,
And all that live after, the sum of his giving.

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"The Creed of Old George Jones" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 18 Jan. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/6606/the-creed-of-old-george-jones>.

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