The Philosophist

A PORTRAIT .

He turns to heaven his small grey eyes,
He opes his lips in pompous wise,
And lets his measured accents fall
With a rough burr and northern drawl,
As he expounds his theories.

He talks of Nature and her laws,
Of man, the mind, the great First Cause,
Demand, supply, life, death, increase,
The over-fruitfulness of peace,
And prates upon them, clause by clause.

War, like a thunder-storm, quoth he,
Is moral electricity;
It thins the heavy air, makes clear
The dense and dangerous atmosphere
O'erladen with humanity.

'Tis cruel shame, mistake most dire,
That men should mate in young desire,
And trust alone to honest toil,
The kindly heaven, the genial soil,
For food, and shelter, and attire.

He thinks it time the truth were said —
That mouths, too many to be fed,
Swarm on the superpopulous land,
And that small wit may understand
That stupid peasants should not wed.

He thinks it decent, for the sake
Of lords with large domains at stake,
That " common people" should not breed
More plenteously than they can feed,
And that steam husbandmen would " take."

If each poor couple, boors and clowns,
Or dirty artizans of towns,
Would, when they wed, produce but two
To take their place in season due,
Philosophy might spare its frowns;

But this not chancing, he declares
The rich alone should live in pairs,
And for their sake each other man
Consume as little as he can,
And die unmated in his cares.

He thinks, while sympathy is sure,
That mendicancy is the cure
For pauperism; that 'tis not right
To mulct the rich in their despite,
But that the poor should feed the poor.

This said, he clasps his fingers ten,
And sniffs th' applause of voice and pen;
Bows placidly, goes home to dine,
And wastes the food, in pomp and wine,
Of half a hundred better men.
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