The Realistic Cult

When this old world was younger by a score of years or more,
It hadn't been enlightened by our realistic lore—
A novel sort of ethical philosophy, combined
With therapeutic fiction of the most “progressive” kind.

For Tolstoi hadn't then begun his theories to teach—
(Ignoring quite the maxim, “You must practise what you preach”)—
That marriage is a snare devised the virtuous to beguile,
And family affection is a feeling to revile.

And Zola—for his pen was yet an embryonic quill—
Had not essayed to medicate our every moral ill
With allopathic doses of immoral literature,
Prescribed by homœopathic rule that like the like will cure.

And Kipling's light had never failed—in fact, it hadn't shone,
Revealing depths of folly that had else remained unknown;
And Ibsen hadn't proved that, since one pillar couldn't stand,
Our social structure therefore is unstably built on sand.

Alas! in ignorance so dense it simulated bliss,
We little dreamed how wofully the world had gone amiss
Before those streams of wisdom had begun their copious flow
From Russian steppe and Paris slum and Indian bungalow.
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