Isn’t it strange
That princes and kings,
And clowns that caper
In sawdust rings,
And common people
Like you and me
Are builders for eternity?
The poet, R. L. Sharpe later amended his work and added two more stanzas, as well as, changing a few word choices. I do prefer the above version over the amended work.
The Internet is not very forthcoming with information regarding his life and other works. There is some discussion about the proper title of this poem. I found many copies cited as “Bag of Tools”. It is the most searched phrase. “Makers of Eternity” may result from the amended version. There are other versions of the poem entitled “Princes and Kings” .
His only credible biography is found at FindAGrave and appears to be written by someone from his hometown. He lived in Carrollton, Georgia and worked with a local newspaper. He died while living in the town.
Though information is sketchy, at best, regarding his life and who he truly was; his work lives on with his poetry. He did endeavor day by day and provided us with our own stepping-stones and encouragement to become a builder of eternity.
Makers of Eternity
Isn’t it strange, that princes and kings
and clowns that frolic in circus rings,
and ordinary folk like you and me
are makers of eternity.
For each is given a bag of tools,
An hourglass, and a book of rules;
And each shall have built when his hour has flown,
a stumbling block or a stepping stone.
One step upon another and the longest walk is ended,
one stitch upon another and the longest rent is mended,
so never be discouraged by the things you have to do,
and think that such a mighty task you never shall get through;
Just endeavor day by day,
another point to gain,
and soon the mountain that you feared
will have become a plain.
–R. L. Sharpe
Aug 14 1872-Apr 19 1951