Don’t Get Gay


As you face the giddy world, young friend, don’t ever try to hide
Your sense of noble manliness and conscientious pride;
Hold up your head in fearless way, look duty in the face,
And in the field of enterprise strive hard to set the pace.
Be independent in your acts, but never crow too loud,
Put forward every honest trait with which you are endowed;
In carving out your course in life fear not to have your say,
And say it independently, but

If you by fortune have been blessed with talent more than those
You meet in life’s unequal ranks, don’t tread upon their toes,
And if at education’s fount you’ve liberally drank,
Pray don’t imagine you’re the only turtle in the tank.
Combine your manly dignity with modesty and grace, —
A watch is never valued by the glitter of its face —
Remember, like your fellow men, you’re but a house of clay
To crumble into dust again; so

Though as a sparkling jewel in society you shine,
Though flatterers may tell you you’re just awfully divine,
Though pretty girls may flood you with their ever-ready smiles —
And strive to hold you captive in the network of their wiles,
Don’t think you are a demi-god of semi-human birth,
Don’t think you hold a mortgage overdue upon the earth,
Don’t tilt your nose too loftily or some time they may say,
You’re more the peacock than the man, so

The world admires a manly man of independent thought,
A man of nerve and enterprise with vim and rigor fraught,
A modest man content to be accepted at his worth,
But not a self-important cuss who thinks he owns the earth.
Don’t try to make the people think you’ve wit and sense to burn,
That what you don’t already know ’tis not worth while to learn;
In setting in the game of life you’ll make a winning play
If you but use good common sense, and

— James Barton Adams, in Denver Post.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Feb 12, 1899

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