Read at the Massachusetts Club on the seventieth anniversary of the birthday of Vice-President Wilson, February 16, 1882.the lowliest born of all the land,
He wrung from Fate's reluctant hand
The gifts which happier boyhood claims;
And, tasting on a thankless soil
The bitter bread of unpaid toil,
He fed his soul with noble aims.
And Nature, kindly provident,
To him the future's promise lent;
The powers that shape man's destinies,
Patience and faith and toil, he knew,
The close horizon round him grew,
Broad with great possibilities.
By the low hearth-fire's fitful blaze
He read of old heroic days,
The sage's thought, the patriot's speech;
Unhelped, alone, himself he taught,
His school the craft at which he wrought,
His lore the book within his reach.
He felt his country's need; he knew
The work her children had to do;
And when, at last, he heard the call
In her behalf to serve and dare,
Beside his senatorial chair
He stood the unquestioned peer of all.