Fugitive Verses
Popular Reprinted Poetry from Nineteenth Century Newspapers

Building on the Sand

Source of witness transcribed: Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, South Carolina)

Date of witness transcribed: 11 August 1852

Notes about this poem: "Building on the Sand" was printed in at least 189 newspapers during the nineteenth century. It can be found using ID 386390 in this table of most widely-reprinted poems.


  • ‘Tis well to woo, ‘tis well to wed,
  • For so the world has done
  • Since myrtles grew, and roses blew,
  • And morning brought the sun.

  • But have a care, ye young and fair—
  • Be sure ye pledge with truth,
  • Be certain that your love will wear
  • Beyond the days of youth.

  • For, if ye give not heart for heart,
  • As well as hand for hand,
  • You’ll find you’ve played the unwise part
  • And “built upon the sand.”

  • ‘Tis well to save, ‘tis well to have
  • A goodly store of gold,
  • And hold enough of the shining stuff,
  • For charity is cold.

  • But place not all your hopes and trust
  • In what the deep mine brings;
  • We cannot live on yellow dust
  • Unmixed with purer things.

  • And he who piles up wealth alone,
  • Will often have to stand
  • Beside his coffer chest, and own
  • ‘Tis “built upon the sand.”

  • ‘Tis good to speak in kindly guise,
  • And soothe where’er we can;
  • Fair speech should bind the human mind
  • And love link man to man.

  • But stay not at the gentle words,
  • Let deeds with language dwell,
  • The one who pities starving birds,
  • Should scatter crumbs as well.

  • The mercy that is warm and true
  • Must lend a helping hand,
  • For those who talk, yet fail to do,
  • But “build upon the sand.”