Tell me ye wise ones if ye can

Tell me ye wise ones if ye can
Whither and whence the race of man.
For I have seen his slender clan
Clinging to hoar hills with their feet
Threading the forest for their meat
Moss and lichens bark & grain
They racke together with might & main
And they digest them with anxiety & pain.
I meet them in their rags and unwashed hair
Instructed to eke out their scanty fare
Brave race — with a yet humbler prayer
Beggars they are aye on the largest scale
They beg their daily bread at heavens door
And if their this years crop alone shoud fail
They neither bread nor begging would know more.
They are the Titmans of their race
And hug the vales with mincing pace
Like Troglodites, and fight with cranes
We walk 'mid great relations feet
What they let fall alone we eat
We are only able
to catch the fragments from their table
These elder brothers of our race
By us unseen with larger pace
Walk oer our heads, and live our lives
embody our desires and dreams
Anticipate our hoped for gleams
We grub the earth for our food
We know not what is good.
Where does the fragrance of our orchards go
Our vineyards while we toil below —
A finer race and finer fed
Feast and revel above our head.
The tints and fragrance of the flowers & fruits
Are but the crumbs from off their table
While we consume the pulp and roots
Some times we do assert our kin
And stand a moment where once they have been
We hear their sounds and see their sights
And we experience their delights —
But for the moment that we stand
Astonished on the Olympian land.
We do discern no traveller's face
No elder brother of our race.
To lead us to the monarch's court
And represent our case.
But straightway we must journey back
retracing slow the arduous track
Without the privelege to tell.
Even, the sight we know so well
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