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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

A Little Brother of the Rich

By Edward Sandford Martin (1856–1939)

[Born in Owasco, Cayuga Co., N. Y., 1856. Died in New York, N. Y., 1939.]

TO put new shingles on old roofs;

To give old women wadded skirts;

To treat premonitory coughs

With seasonable flannel shirts;

To soothe the stings of poverty

And keep the jackal from the door—

These are the works that occupy

The Little Sister of the Poor.

She carries, everywhere she goes,

Kind words and chickens, jams and coals;

Poultices for corporeal woes,

And sympathy for downcast souls;

Her currant jelly—her quinine,

The lips of fever move to bless.

She makes the humble sick-room shine

With unaccustomed tidiness.

A heart of hers the instant twin

And vivid counterpart is mine;

I also serve my fellow-men,

Though in a somewhat different line.

The Poor and their concerns she has

Monopolized, because of which

It falls to me to labor as

A Little Brother of the Rich.

For their sake at no sacrifice

Does my devoted spirit quail;

I give their horses exercise;

As ballast on their yachts I sail.

Upon their Tally-Ho’s I ride

And brave the chances of a storm;

I even use my own inside

To keep their wines and victuals warm.

Those whom we strive to benefit

Dear to our hearts soon grow to be;

I love my Rich, and I admit

That they are very good to me.

Succor the Poor, my sisters, I,

While heaven shall still vouchsafe health,

Will strive to share and mollify

The trials of abounding wealth.

A Little Brother of the Rich, and Other Poems. 1888.