"Building on the Sand" by Eliza Cook
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.
Building on the Sand
- ‘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.”