ON MEN & SHOES
How much a man is like his shoes!
For instance, both a soul may lose;
Both have been tanned; both are made
By cobblers; both get left and right.
Both need a mate to be complete;
And both are made to go on feet.
They both need healing; oft are sold,
And both in time will turn to mold
With shoes the last is first; with men
The first shall be the last; and when
The shoes wear out they're mended tight new;
When men wear out they're men dead too!
They both are trod upon, and both
Will tread on others, nothing loath,
Both have their ties, and both incline,
When polished, in the world to shine;
And both peg out.
Now would you choose
To be a man or be his shoes?
The Boston Courier, c.1899
Robert E. Lee (1807-70)