Each New Year’s Eve I used to brood
On my misdoings of the past,
And vowed: “This year I’ll be so good –
Well, haply better than the last.”
My record of reforms I read
To Mum who listened sweetly to it:
“Why plan all this, my son?” she said;
“Just do it.”
Of her wise words I’ve often thought –
Aye, sometimes with a pang of pain,
When resolutions come to naught,
And high resolves are sadly vain;
The human heart from failure bleeds;
Hopes may be wrecked so that we rue them . . .
Don’t let us dream of lovely deeds –
Just do them.
And so, my son, uphold your pride.
Believe serenely in your soul.
Just take things in a steady stride,
Until behold! you’ve gained your goal.
But if, perchance, you frame a plan
Of conduct, let it be a free one:
Don’t try to make yourself a man –
Just be one.