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To J.W.

 Set not thy foot on graves;
Hear what wine and roses say;
The mountain chase, the summer waves,
The crowded town, thy feet may well delay.
Set not thy foot on graves; Nor seek to unwind the shroud Which charitable time And nature have allowed To wrap the errors of a sage sublime.
Set not thy foot on graves; Care not to strip the dead Of his sad ornament; His myrrh, and wine, and rings, His sheet of lead, And trophies buried; Go get them where he earned them when alive, As resolutely dig or dive.
Life is too short to waste The critic bite or cynic bark, Quarrel, or reprimand; 'Twill soon be dark; Up! mind thine own aim, and God speed the mark.

by Ralph Waldo Emerson
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