Fence or the Ambulance?
a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant:
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke and many a peasant;
So the people said something would have to be done,
But their projects did not at all tally:
Some said, "Put a fence round the edge of the cliff";
ambulance down in the valley."
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
For it spread to the neighboring city
A fence may be useful or not, it is true,
But each heart became brimful of pity
For those who had slipped o'er that dangerous cliff,
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds or gave pence, not to put up a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.
"For the cliff is all right if you're careful," they
folks even slip or are dropping,
It isn't the slipping that hurts them so much
As the shock
down below-when they're stopping."
So day after day when these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth would the rescuers sally
To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff
With their ambulance down in the valley.
Then an old
man remarked: "It's a marvel to me
That people give far more attention
To repairing results than to stopping the cause,
When they'd much better aim at prevention.
Let us stop
at its source all this mischief," cried
neighbors and friends, let us rally;
If the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
With the ambulance
down in the valley."
"Oh, he's a fanatic," the
with the ambulance? Never!
He'd dispense with all charities, too, if he could:
No, no! We'll support them forever.
Aren't we picking up folks just as fast as they fall?
And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?
Why should people of sense stop to put a fence,
ambulance works in the valley?"
Thus this story so old has beautifully told
How our people, with best of intentions,
Have wasted their years and lavished their tears
On treatment, with naught for prevention.
But a sensible few, who are practical, too,
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer;
They believe that prevention is better than cure,
And their party will soon be the stronger.
Encourage them, then, with your purse, voice, and pen,
And (while other philanthropists dally)
They will scorn all pretense, and put up a stout fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.
-- Joseph Malines
Better guide well the young, than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling.
To rescue the fallen is good, but tis best
To prevent other people from falling.
Children live what they learn; yes, they do what they see,
And we are the ones they will follow.
Unless we don't care, let them go anywhere,
Then our words to them will be hollow.
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