So Various

You may have met a man — quite young —
A brisk-eyed youth, and highly strung:
One whose desires
And inner fires
Moved him as wires.

And you may have met one stiff and old,
If not in years; of manner cold;
Who seemed as stone,
And never had known
Of mirth or moan.

And there may have crossed your path a lover,
In whose clear depths you could discover
A staunch, robust,
And tender trust,
Through storm and gust.

And you may have also known one fickle,
Whose fancies changed as the silver sickle
Of yonder moon,
Which shapes so soon
To demilune!

You entertained a person once
Whom you internally deemed a dunce: —
As he sat in view
Just facing you
You saw him through.

You came to know a learned seer
Of whom you read the surface mere:
Your soul quite sank;
Brain of such rank
Dubbed yours a blank.

Anon you quizzed a man of sadness,
Who never could have known true gladness:
Just for a whim
You pitied him
In his sore trim.

You journeyed with a man so glad
You never could conceive him sad:
He proved to be
Indubitably
Good company.

You lit on an unadventurous slow man,
Who, said you, need be feared by no man;
That his slack deeds
And sloth must needs
Produce but weeds.

A man of enterprise, shrewd and swift,
Who never suffered affairs to drift,
You eyed for a time
Just in his prime,
And judged he might climb.

You smoked beside one who forgot
All that you said, or grasped it not.
Quite a poor thing,
Not worth a sting
By satirizing!

Next year you nearly lost for ever
Goodwill from one who forgot slights never;
And, with unease,
Felt you must seize
Occasion to please. . . .

Now. . . . All these specimens of man,
So various in their pith and plan,
Curious to say
Were one man. Yea,
I was all they.
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