My Philosophy

From the Biographical Edition  Of the Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley.

James Whitcomb Riley.


Though dogs persist in barking at the moon, the moon’s business is not to answer the dogs or to waste strength placating them, but simply to shine. The man who strives or succeeds is sure to be criticized. Is he therefore to abstain from all effort? We are responsible for our own lives and cannot regulate them according to other people’s ideas. ‘Whoso would be a man,’ says Emerson, ‘must be a nonconformist.’

I allus argy that a man

Who does about the best he can

Is plenty good enugh to suit

This lower mundane institute–

No matter ef his daily walk

Is subject fer his neghbor’s talk,

And critic-minds of ev’ry whim

Jest all git up and go fer him!

It’s natchurl enugh, I guess,

When some gits more and some gits less,

Fer them-uns on the slimmest side

To claim it ain’t a fare divide;

And I’ve knowed some to lay and wait,

And git up soon, and set up late,

To ketch some feller they could hate

For goin’ at a faster gait.

My doctern is to lay aside

Contensions, and be satisfied:

Jest do your best, and praise er blame

That follers that, counts jest the same.

I’ve allus noticed grate success

Is mixed with troubles, more er less,

And it’s the man who does the best

That gits more kicks than all the rest.





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