It’s a bigger thing you’re doing than the most of us have done;
We have lived the days of pleasure; now the gray days have begun,
And upon your manly shoulders fall the burdens of the strife;
Yours must be the sacrifices of the trial time of life.
Oh, I don’t know how to say it, but I’ll never think of you
Without wishing I were sharing in the work you have to do.
I have never known a moment that was fraught with real care,
Save the hurts and griefs of sorrow that all mortals have to bear;
With the gay and smiling marchers I have tramped on pleasant ways,
And have paid with feeble service for the gladness of my days.
But to you has come a summons, yours are days of sacrifice,
And for all life has of sweetness you must pay a bitter price.
Men have fought and died before me, men must fight and die to-day,
I have merely taken pleasures for which others had to pay;
I have been a man of laughter, there’s no path my feet have made,
I have merely been a marcher in life’s gaudy dress parade.
But you wear the garb of service, you have splendid deeds to do,
You shall sound the depths of manhood, and my boy, I envy you.