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    Can't
    by Edgar A. Guest

    Can't is the worst word that's written or
            spoken;
        Doing more harm here than slander and lies;
    On it is many a strong spirit broken,
        And with it many a good purpose dies.
    It springs from the lips of the thoughtless each
            morning
        And robs us of courage we need through the
            day:
    It rings in our ears like a timely-sent warning
        And laughs when we falter and fall by the
            way.

    Can't is the father of feeble endeavor,
        The parent of terror and half-hearted work;
    It weakens the efforts of artisans clever,
        And makes of the toiler an indolent shirk.
    It poisons the soul of the man with a vision,
        It stifles in infancy many a plan;
    It greets honest toiling with open derision
        And mocks at the hopes and the dreams of a
            man.

    Can't is a word none should speak without
            blushing;
        To utter it should be a symbol of shame;
    Ambition and courage it daily is crushing;
        It blights a man's purpose and shortens his
            aim.
    Despise it with all of your hatred of error;
        Refuse it the lodgment it seeks in your brain;
    Arm against it as a creature of terror,
        And all that you dream of you some day shall
            gain.

    Can't is the word that is foe to ambition,
        An enemy ambushed to shatter your will;
    Its prey is forever the man with a mission
        And bows but to courage and patience and
            skill.
    Hate it, with hatred that's deep and undying,
        For once it is welcomed 'twill break any
            man;
    Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying
        And answer this demon by saying: "I can."

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