A letter to my sister.

Charles Frederick White

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Allene, sweet sister, with the blood
Of youth yet coursing through your cheeks,
I was informed, not long ago,
That you had quit attending school.
What is the cause that you should act
So rashly as to stop your search
Through that enormous library
Piled up by Time in ages past
And guarded with unceasing care
By fond Existence? I wish that
You might know the full value of
An education. I think you
Would reconsider soon your act
And turn again toward the path
Of learning, and would never cease
To delve into the depths of things
Unthought by others. I suppose,
Though, that you have considered all
This thoroughly, and have resolved
That 'tis as well for you to stop.
Yet, I cannot but think that you
Have acted wrongly. Surely you
Will in some future year regret
That you have thought it wise and well
To discontinue the pursuit
Of knowledge. I should you advise
To get all education that
Can well be stored within your brain;
For nothing that you learn will be
Of any disadvantage to
You through the life that is to last
Until your death. If you have learned
To deeply think upon the things
Brought up in daily studies, 'twill
Help you to think more thoroughly
Into the cares of daily life;
No matter what their size or weight.
I was surprised, indeed, and sad
To hear you had determined thus
To forfeit your good chance to be
In future time a person of
Great wealth in wit and lore of books.
Since I was taken out of school
I've often wished that I might find
An opportunity to go
To school again. I'd like to have
A college course of quite four years,
Which I intend some day to get,
E'en though I may be then some years
A senior o'er my present age.
When you and Lilian had begun
To study music, you recall
The fact that you cared naught for it,
While Lilian studied much and learned
Quite readily to play: so well
That afterwards you were inspired
With full desire to be equipped
To play as well as she? Forthwith
You then began to practice much
And study more than you at first
Did care to; so that now you have
Succeeded quite in learning well
To chant the strains of sweetness deep
And melody upon the keys
Of the piano, bringing forth
The deep expressions, beauties and
The symphonies of art and life.
So, in the years when Lilian
Has graduated from her class
At high school, and equipped herself
With lore of books, you will regret
That you did not advantage take
Of time, then past, by draining all
The books in reach of their great wealth
Of countless treasures, precious gems,
And hiding them away within
Your chest of memory, to use
At times when they are needed most.
Therefore, I'd be much pleased if you
Would continue your term of school
And finish honorably and well.

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