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Best Famous Senses Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Senses poems. This is a select list of the best famous Senses poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Senses poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of senses poems.

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Written by Sara Teasdale | Create an image from this poem

I Am Not Yours

I am not yours, not lost in you, 
Not lost, although I long to be 
Lost as a candle lit at noon, 
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.
You love me, and I find you still A spirit beautiful and bright, Yet I am I, who long to be Lost as a light is lost in light.
Oh plunge me deep in love - put out My senses, leave me deaf and blind, Swept by the tempest of your love, A taper in a rushing wind.


Written by C S Lewis | Create an image from this poem

On Being Human

 Angelic minds, they say, by simple intelligence 
Behold the Forms of nature.
They discern Unerringly the Archtypes, all the verities Which mortals lack or indirectly learn.
Transparent in primordial truth, unvarying, Pure Earthness and right Stonehood from their clear, High eminence are seen; unveiled, the seminal Huge Principles appear.
The Tree-ness of the tree they know-the meaning of Arboreal life, how from earth's salty lap The solar beam uplifts it; all the holiness Enacted by leaves' fall and rising sap; But never an angel knows the knife-edged severance Of sun from shadow where the trees begin, The blessed cool at every pore caressing us -An angel has no skin.
They see the Form of Air; but mortals breathing it Drink the whole summer down into the breast.
The lavish pinks, the field new-mown, the ravishing Sea-smells, the wood-fire smoke that whispers Rest.
The tremor on the rippled pool of memory That from each smell in widening circles goes, The pleasure and the pang --can angels measure it? An angel has no nose.
The nourishing of life, and how it flourishes On death, and why, they utterly know; but not The hill-born, earthy spring, the dark cold bilberries.
The ripe peach from the southern wall still hot Full-bellied tankards foamy-topped, the delicate Half-lyric lamb, a new loaf's billowy curves, Nor porridge, nor the tingling taste of oranges.
—An angel has no nerves.
Far richer they! I know the senses' witchery Guards us like air, from heavens too big to see; Imminent death to man that barb'd sublimity And dazzling edge of beauty unsheathed would be.
Yet here, within this tiny, charmed interior, This parlour of the brain, their Maker shares With living men some secrets in a privacy Forever ours, not theirs.
Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

Song at Sunset

 SPLENDOR of ended day, floating and filling me! 
Hour prophetic—hour resuming the past! 
Inflating my throat—you, divine average! 
You, Earth and Life, till the last ray gleams, I sing.
Open mouth of my Soul, uttering gladness, Eyes of my Soul, seeing perfection, Natural life of me, faithfully praising things; Corroborating forever the triumph of things.
Illustrious every one! Illustrious what we name space—sphere of unnumber’d spirits; Illustrious the mystery of motion, in all beings, even the tiniest insect; Illustrious the attribute of speech—the senses—the body; Illustrious the passing light! Illustrious the pale reflection on the new moon in the western sky! Illustrious whatever I see, or hear, or touch, to the last.
Good in all, In the satisfaction and aplomb of animals, In the annual return of the seasons, In the hilarity of youth, In the strength and flush of manhood, In the grandeur and exquisiteness of old age, In the superb vistas of Death.
Wonderful to depart; Wonderful to be here! The heart, to jet the all-alike and innocent blood! To breathe the air, how delicious! To speak! to walk! to seize something by the hand! To prepare for sleep, for bed—to look on my rose-color’d flesh; To be conscious of my body, so satisfied, so large; To be this incredible God I am; To have gone forth among other Gods—these men and women I love.
Wonderful how I celebrate you and myself! How my thoughts play subtly at the spectacles around! How the clouds pass silently overhead! How the earth darts on and on! and how the sun, moon, stars, dart on and on! How the water sports and sings! (Surely it is alive!) How the trees rise and stand up—with strong trunks—with branches and leaves! (Surely there is something more in each of the tree—some living Soul.
) O amazement of things! even the least particle! O spirituality of things! O strain musical, flowing through ages and continents—now reaching me and America! I take your strong chords—I intersperse them, and cheerfully pass them forward.
I too carol the sun, usher’d, or at noon, or, as now, setting, I too throb to the brain and beauty of the earth, and of all the growths of the earth, I too have felt the resistless call of myself.
As I sail’d down the Mississippi, As I wander’d over the prairies, As I have lived—As I have look’d through my windows, my eyes, As I went forth in the morning—As I beheld the light breaking in the east; As I bathed on the beach of the Eastern Sea, and again on the beach of the Western Sea; As I roam’d the streets of inland Chicago—whatever streets I have roam’d; Or cities, or silent woods, or peace, or even amid the sights of war; Wherever I have been, I have charged myself with contentment and triumph.
I sing the Equalities, modern or old, I sing the endless finales of things; I say Nature continues—Glory continues; I praise with electric voice; For I do not see one imperfection in the universe; And I do not see one cause or result lamentable at last in the universe.
O setting sun! though the time has come, I still warble under you, if none else does, unmitigated adoration.
Written by Lascelles Abercrombie | Create an image from this poem

Emblems of Love

She

ONLY to be twin elements of joy
In this extravagance of Being, Love,
Were our divided natures shaped in twain;
And to this hour the whole world must consent.
Is it not very marvellous, our lives Can only come to this out of a long Strange sundering, with the years of the world between us? He Shall life do more than God? for hath not God Striven with himself, when into known delight His unaccomplisht joy he would put forth,— This mystery of a world sign of his striving? Else wherefore this, a thing to break the mind With labouring in the wonder of it, that here Being—the world and we—is suffered to be!— But, lying on thy breast one notable day, Sudden exceeding agony of love Made my mind a trance of infinite knowledge.
I was not: yet I saw the will of God As light unfashion’d, unendurable flame, Interminable, not to be supposed; And there was no more creature except light,— The dreadful burning of the lonely God’s Unutter’d joy.
And then, past telling, came Shuddering and division in the light: Therein, like trembling, was desire to know Its own perfect beauty; and it became A cloven fire, a double flaming, each Adorable to each; against itself Waging a burning love, which was the world;— A moment satisfied in that love-strife I knew the world!—And when I fell from there, Then knew I also what this life would do In being twin,—in being man and woman! For it would do even as its endless Master, Making the world, had done; yea, with itself Would strive, and for the strife would into sex Be cloven, double burning, made thereby Desirable to itself.
Contrivèd joy Is sex in life; and by no other thing Than by a perfect sundering, could life Change the dark stream of unappointed joy To perfect praise of itself, the glee that loves And worships its own Being.
This is ours! Yet only for that we have been so long Sundered desire: thence is our life all praise.
— But we, well knowing by our strength of joy There is no sundering more, how far we love From those sad lives that know a half-love only, Alone thereby knowing themselves for ever Sealed in division of love, and therefore made To pour their strength always into their love’s Fierceness, as green wood bleeds its hissing sap Into red heat of a fire! Not so do we: The cloven anger, life, hath left to wage Its flame against itself, here turned to one Self-adoration.
—Ah, what comes of this? The joy falters a moment, with closed wings Wearying in its upward journey, ere Again it goes on high, bearing its song, Its delight breathing and its vigour beating The highest height of the air above the world.
She What hast thou done to me!—I would have soul, Before I knew thee, Love, a captive held By flesh.
Now, inly delighted with desire, My body knows itself to be nought else But thy heart’s worship of me; and my soul Therein is sunlight held by warm gold air.
Nay, all my body is become a song Upon the breath of spirit, a love-song.
He And mine is all like one rapt faculty, As it were listening to the love in thee, My whole mortality trembling to take Thy body like heard singing of thy spirit.
She Surely by this, Beloved, we must know Our love is perfect here,—that not as holds The common dullard thought, we are things lost In an amazement that is all unware; But wonderfully knowing what we are! Lo, now that body is the song whereof Spirit is mood, knoweth not our delight? Knoweth not beautifully now our love, That Life, here to this festival bid come Clad in his splendour of worldly day and night, Filled and empower’d by heavenly lust, is all The glad imagination of the Spirit? He Were it not so, Love could not be at all: Nought could be, but a yearning to fulfil Desire of beauty, by vain reaching forth Of sense to hold and understand the vision Made by impassion’d body,—vision of thee! But music mixt with music are, in love, Bodily senses; and as flame hath light, Spirit this nature hath imagined round it, No way concealed therein, when love comes near, Nor in the perfect wedding of desires Suffering any hindrance.
She Ah, but now, Now am I given love’s eternal secret! Yea, thou and I who speak, are but the joy Of our for ever mated spirits; but now The wisdom of my gladness even through Spirit Looks, divinely elate.
Who hath for joy Our Spirits? Who hath imagined them Round him in fashion’d radiance of desire, As into light of these exulting bodies Flaming Spirit is uttered? He Yea, here the end Of love’s astonishment! Now know we Spirit, And Who, for ease of joy, contriveth Spirit.
Now all life’s loveliness and power we have Dissolved in this one moment, and our burning Carries all shining upward, till in us Life is not life, but the desire of God, Himself desiring and himself accepting.
Now what was prophecy in us is made Fulfilment: we are the hour and we are the joy, We in our marvellousness of single knowledge, Of Spirit breaking down the room of fate And drawing into his light the greeting fire Of God,—God known in ecstasy of love Wedding himself to utterance of himself
Written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning | Create an image from this poem

Human Life's Mystery

 We sow the glebe, we reap the corn, 
We build the house where we may rest, 
And then, at moments, suddenly, 
We look up to the great wide sky, 
Inquiring wherefore we were born… 
For earnest or for jest? 

The senses folding thick and dark 
About the stifled soul within, 
We guess diviner things beyond, 
And yearn to them with yearning fond; 
We strike out blindly to a mark 
Believed in, but not seen.
We vibrate to the pant and thrill Wherewith Eternity has curled In serpent-twine about God’s seat; While, freshening upward to His feet, In gradual growth His full-leaved will Expands from world to world.
And, in the tumult and excess Of act and passion under sun, We sometimes hear—oh, soft and far, As silver star did touch with star, The kiss of Peace and Righteousness Through all things that are done.
God keeps His holy mysteries Just on the outside of man’s dream; In diapason slow, we think To hear their pinions rise and sink, While they float pure beneath His eyes, Like swans adown a stream.
Abstractions, are they, from the forms Of His great beauty?—exaltations From His great glory?—strong previsions Of what we shall be?—intuitions Of what we are—in calms and storms, Beyond our peace and passions? Things nameless! which, in passing so, Do stroke us with a subtle grace.
We say, ‘Who passes?’—they are dumb.
We cannot see them go or come: Their touches fall soft, cold, as snow Upon a blind man’s face.
Yet, touching so, they draw above Our common thoughts to Heaven’s unknown, Our daily joy and pain advance To a divine significance, Our human love—O mortal love, That light is not its own! And sometimes horror chills our blood To be so near such mystic Things, And we wrap round us for defence Our purple manners, moods of sense— As angels from the face of God Stand hidden in their wings.
And sometimes through life’s heavy swound We grope for them!—with strangled breath We stretch our hands abroad and try To reach them in our agony,— And widen, so, the broad life-wound Which soon is large enough for death.
Written by Maya Angelou | Create an image from this poem

Million Man March Poem

The night has been long,
The wound has been deep,
The pit has been dark,
And the walls have been steep.
Under a dead blue sky on a distant beach, I was dragged by my braids just beyond your reach.
Your hands were tied, your mouth was bound, You couldn't even call out my name.
You were helpless and so was I, But unfortunately throughout history You've worn a badge of shame.
I say, the night has been long, The wound has been deep, The pit has been dark And the walls have been steep.
But today, voices of old spirit sound Speak to us in words profound, Across the years, across the centuries, Across the oceans, and across the seas.
They say, draw near to one another, Save your race.
You have been paid for in a distant place, The old ones remind us that slavery's chains Have paid for our freedom again and again.
The night has been long, The pit has been deep, The night has been dark, And the walls have been steep.
The hells we have lived through and live through still, Have sharpened our senses and toughened our will.
The night has been long.
This morning I look through your anguish Right down to your soul.
I know that with each other we can make ourselves whole.
I look through the posture and past your disguise, And see your love for family in your big brown eyes.
I say, clap hands and let's come together in this meeting ground, I say, clap hands and let's deal with each other with love, I say, clap hands and let us get from the low road of indifference, Clap hands, let us come together and reveal our hearts, Let us come together and revise our spirits, Let us come together and cleanse our souls, Clap hands, let's leave the preening And stop impostering our own history.
Clap hands, call the spirits back from the ledge, Clap hands, let us invite joy into our conversation, Courtesy into our bedrooms, Gentleness into our kitchen, Care into our nursery.
The ancestors remind us, despite the history of pain We are a going-on people who will rise again.
And still we rise.
Poem read at the Million Man March
Written by Phillis Wheatley | Create an image from this poem

On Imagination

 Thy various works, imperial queen, we see,
 How bright their forms! how deck'd with pomp by thee!
Thy wond'rous acts in beauteous order stand,
And all attest how potent is thine hand.
From Helicon's refulgent heights attend, Ye sacred choir, and my attempts befriend: To tell her glories with a faithful tongue, Ye blooming graces, triumph in my song.
Now here, now there, the roving Fancy flies, Till some lov'd object strikes her wand'ring eyes, Whose silken fetters all the senses bind, And soft captivity involves the mind.
Imagination! who can sing thy force? Or who describe the swiftness of thy course? Soaring through air to find the bright abode, Th' empyreal palace of the thund'ring God, We on thy pinions can surpass the wind, And leave the rolling universe behind: >From star to star the mental optics rove, Measure the skies, and range the realms above.
There in one view we grasp the mighty whole, Or with new worlds amaze th' unbounded soul.
Though Winter frowns to Fancy's raptur'd eyes The fields may flourish, and gay scenes arise; The frozen deeps may break their iron bands, And bid their waters murmur o'er the sands.
Fair Flora may resume her fragrant reign, And with her flow'ry riches deck the plain; Sylvanus may diffuse his honours round, And all the forest may with leaves be crown'd: Show'rs may descend, and dews their gems disclose, And nectar sparkle on the blooming rose.
Such is thy pow'r, nor are thine orders vain, O thou the leader of the mental train: In full perfection all thy works are wrought, And thine the sceptre o'er the realms of thought.
Before thy throne the subject-passions bow, Of subject-passions sov'reign ruler thou; At thy command joy rushes on the heart, And through the glowing veins the spirits dart.
Fancy might now her silken pinions try To rise from earth, and sweep th' expanse on high: >From Tithon's bed now might Aurora rise, Her cheeks all glowing with celestial dies, While a pure stream of light o'erflows the skies.
The monarch of the day I might behold, And all the mountains tipt with radiant gold, But I reluctant leave the pleasing views, Which Fancy dresses to delight the Muse; Winter austere forbids me to aspire, And northern tempests damp the rising fire; They chill the tides of Fancy's flowing sea, Cease then, my song, cease the unequal lay.


Written by Dylan Thomas | Create an image from this poem

Poem On His Birthday

 In the mustardseed sun,
By full tilt river and switchback sea
 Where the cormorants scud,
In his house on stilts high among beaks
 And palavers of birds
This sandgrain day in the bent bay's grave
 He celebrates and spurns
His driftwood thirty-fifth wind turned age;
 Herons spire and spear.
Under and round him go Flounders, gulls, on their cold, dying trails, Doing what they are told, Curlews aloud in the congered waves Work at their ways to death, And the rhymer in the long tongued room, Who tolls his birthday bell, Toils towards the ambush of his wounds; Herons, steeple stemmed, bless.
In the thistledown fall, He sings towards anguish; finches fly In the claw tracks of hawks On a seizing sky; small fishes glide Through wynds and shells of drowned Ship towns to pastures of otters.
He In his slant, racking house And the hewn coils of his trade perceives Herons walk in their shroud, The livelong river's robe Of minnows wreathing around their prayer; And far at sea he knows, Who slaves to his crouched, eternal end Under a serpent cloud, Dolphins dive in their turnturtle dust, The rippled seals streak down To kill and their own tide daubing blood Slides good in the sleek mouth.
In a cavernous, swung Wave's silence, wept white angelus knells.
Thirty-five bells sing struck On skull and scar where his loves lie wrecked, Steered by the falling stars.
And to-morrow weeps in a blind cage Terror will rage apart Before chains break to a hammer flame And love unbolts the dark And freely he goes lost In the unknown, famous light of great And fabulous, dear God.
Dark is a way and light is a place, Heaven that never was Nor will be ever is always true, And, in that brambled void, Plenty as blackberries in the woods The dead grow for His joy.
There he might wander bare With the spirits of the horseshoe bay Or the stars' seashore dead, Marrow of eagles, the roots of whales And wishbones of wild geese, With blessed, unborn God and His Ghost, And every soul His priest, Gulled and chanter in young Heaven's fold Be at cloud quaking peace, But dark is a long way.
He, on the earth of the night, alone With all the living, prays, Who knows the rocketing wind will blow The bones out of the hills, And the scythed boulders bleed, and the last Rage shattered waters kick Masts and fishes to the still quick starts, Faithlessly unto Him Who is the light of old And air shaped Heaven where souls grow wild As horses in the foam: Oh, let me midlife mourn by the shrined And druid herons' vows The voyage to ruin I must run, Dawn ships clouted aground, Yet, though I cry with tumbledown tongue, Count my blessings aloud: Four elements and five Senses, and man a spirit in love Tangling through this spun slime To his nimbus bell cool kingdom come And the lost, moonshine domes, And the sea that hides his secret selves Deep in its black, base bones, Lulling of spheres in the seashell flesh, And this last blessing most, That the closer I move To death, one man through his sundered hulks, The louder the sun blooms And the tusked, ramshackling sea exults; And every wave of the way And gale I tackle, the whole world then, With more triumphant faith That ever was since the world was said, Spins its morning of praise, I hear the bouncing hills Grow larked and greener at berry brown Fall and the dew larks sing Taller this thunderclap spring, and how More spanned with angles ride The mansouled fiery islands! Oh, Holier then their eyes, And my shining men no more alone As I sail out to die.
Written by Dejan Stojanovic | Create an image from this poem

A Woman in the Garden of Light

To find the hidden place 
Longing freely to explore 
Break obstacles and recognize 
Invisible sparks emanating 
From the deserved discovery 
Of nothing between us 
Shining longing only 
Wakening stars in the Garden 
Witnessing the birth of new landscapes, 
Future cities and temples 
Hearing new stories, falling 
From the fountains of the secret art 
All old sounds and colors reviving 
And you, blindingly bright, 
Into new senses are melting me 
And into the core I grow 
With invisible roots piercing 
Touching the core of fire 
Traveling far to the place, before 
Space and time, and coming back 
To this Garden to find you 
To see the real you swimming 
And flying ahead of the light 
To find you where the light never was 
And to learn that you are its source
Written by John Wilmot | Create an image from this poem

A Satyre Against Mankind

 Were I - who to my cost already am
One of those strange, prodigious creatures, man -
A spirit free to choose for my own share
What sort of flesh and blood I pleased to wear,
I'd be a dog, a monkey, or a bear,
Or anything but that vain animal,
Who is so proud of being rational.
His senses are too gross; and he'll contrive A sixth, to contradict the other five; And before certain instinct will prefer Reason, which fifty times for one does err.
Reason, an ignis fatuus of the mind, Which leaving light of nature, sense, behind, Pathless and dangerous wand'ring ways it takes, Through Error's fenny bogs and thorny brakes; Whilst the misguided follower climbs with pain Mountains of whimsey's, heaped in his own brain; Stumbling from thought to thought, falls headlong down, Into Doubt's boundless sea where, like to drown, Books bear him up awhile, and make him try To swim with bladders of Philosophy; In hopes still to o'ertake the escaping light; The vapour dances, in his dancing sight, Till spent, it leaves him to eternal night.
Then old age and experience, hand in hand, Lead him to death, make him to understand, After a search so painful, and so long, That all his life he has been in the wrong: Huddled In dirt the reasoning engine lies, Who was so proud, so witty, and so wise.
Pride drew him in, as cheats their bubbles catch, And made him venture; to be made a wretch.
His wisdom did has happiness destroy, Aiming to know that world he should enjoy; And Wit was his vain, frivolous pretence Of pleasing others, at his own expense.
For wits are treated just like common whores, First they're enjoyed, and then kicked out of doors; The pleasure past, a threatening doubt remains, That frights th' enjoyer with succeeding pains: Women and men of wit are dangerous tools, And ever fatal to admiring fools.
Pleasure allures, and when the fops escape, 'Tis not that they're beloved, but fortunate, And therefore what they fear, at heart they hate: But now, methinks some formal band and beard Takes me to task; come on sir, I'm prepared: "Then by your Favour, anything that's writ Against this jibing, jingling knack called Wit Likes me abundantly: but you take care Upon this point not to be too severe.
Perhaps my Muse were fitter for this part, For I profess I can be very smart On Wit, which I abhor with all my heart; I long to lash it in some sharp essay, But your grand indiscretion bids me stay, And turns my tide of ink another way.
What rage Torments in your degenerate mind, To make you rail at reason, and mankind Blessed glorious man! To whom alone kind heaven An everlasting soul hath freely given; Whom his great maker took such care to make, That from himself he did the image take; And this fair frame in shining reason dressed, To dignify his nature above beast.
Reason, by whose aspiring influence We take a flight beyond material sense, Dive into mysteries, then soaring pierce The flaming limits of the universe, Search heaven and hell, Find out what's acted there, And give the world true grounds of hope and fear.
" Hold mighty man, I cry, all this we know, From the pathetic pen of Ingelo; From Patrlck's Pilgrim, Sibbes' Soliloquies, And 'tis this very reason I despise, This supernatural gift that makes a mite Think he's an image of the infinite; Comparing his short life, void of all rest, To the eternal, and the ever-blessed.
This busy, pushing stirrer-up of doubt, That frames deep mysteries, then finds them out; Filling with frantic crowds of thinking fools The reverend bedlam's, colleges and schools; Borne on whose wings each heavy sot can pierce The limits of the boundless universe; So charming ointments make an old witch fly, And bear a crippled carcass through the sky.
'Tis the exalted power whose business lies In nonsense and impossibilities.
This made a whimsical philosopher Before the spacious world his tub prefer, And we have modern cloistered coxcombs, who Retire to think 'cause they have nought to do.
But thoughts are given for action's government; Where action ceases, thought's impertinent: Our sphere of action is life's happiness, And he that thinks beyond thinks like an ***.
Thus, whilst against false reasoning I inveigh.
I own right reason, which I would obey: That reason which distinguishes by sense, And gives us rules of good and ill from thence; That bounds desires.
with a reforming will To keep 'em more in vigour, not to kill.
- Your reason hinders, mine helps to enjoy, Renewing appetites yours would destroy.
My reason is my friend, yours is a cheat, Hunger calls out, my reason bids me eat; Perversely.
yours your appetite does mock: This asks for food, that answers, 'what's o'clock' This plain distinction, sir, your doubt secures, 'Tis not true reason I despise, but yours.
Thus I think reason righted, but for man, I'll ne'er recant, defend him if you can: For all his pride, and his philosophy, 'Tis evident: beasts are in their own degree As wise at least, and better far than he.
Those creatures are the wisest who attain.
- By surest means.
the ends at which they aim.
If therefore Jowler finds and kills the hares, Better than Meres supplies committee chairs; Though one's a statesman, th' other but a hound, Jowler in justice would be wiser found.
You see how far man's wisdom here extends.
Look next if human nature makes amends; Whose principles are most generous and just, - And to whose morals you would sooner trust: Be judge yourself, I'll bring it to the test, Which is the basest creature, man or beast Birds feed on birds, beasts on each other prey, But savage man alone does man betray: Pressed by necessity; they kill for food, Man undoes man, to do himself no good.
With teeth and claws, by nature armed, they hunt Nature's allowance, to supply their want.
But man, with smiles, embraces.
friendships.
Praise, Inhumanely his fellow's life betrays; With voluntary pains works his distress, Not through necessity, but wantonness.
For hunger or for love they bite, or tear, Whilst wretched man is still in arms for fear.
For fear he arms, and is of arms afraid: From fear, to fear, successively betrayed.
Base fear, the source whence his best passions came.
His boasted honour, and his dear-bought fame.
The lust of power, to whom he's such a slave, And for the which alone he dares be brave; To which his various projects are designed, Which makes him generous, affable, and kind.
For which he takes such pains to be thought wise, And screws his actions, in a forced disguise; Leads a most tedious life in misery, Under laborious, mean hypocrisy.
Look to the bottom of his vast design, Wherein man's wisdom, power, and glory join: The good he acts.
the ill he does endure.
'Tis all from fear, to make himself secure.
Merely for safety after fame they thirst, For all men would be cowards if they durst.
And honesty's against all common sense, Men must be knaves, 'tis in their own defence.
Mankind's dishonest: if you think it fair Among known cheats to play upon the square, You'll be undone.
Nor can weak truth your reputation save, The knaves will all agree to call you knave.
Wronged shall he live, insulted o'er, oppressed, Who dares be less a villain than the rest.
Thus sir, you see what human nature craves, Most men are cowards, all men should be knaves; The difference lies, as far as I can see.
Not in the thing itself, but the degree; And all the subject matter of debate Is only, who's a knave of the first rate All this with indignation have I hurled At the pretending part of the proud world, Who, swollen with selfish vanity, devise, False freedoms, holy cheats, and formal lies, Over their fellow slaves to tyrannise.
But if in Court so just a man there be, (In Court, a just man - yet unknown to me) Who does his needful flattery direct Not to oppress and ruin, but protect: Since flattery, which way soever laid, Is still a tax: on that unhappy trade.
If so upright a statesman you can find, Whose passions bend to his unbiased mind, Who does his arts and policies apply To raise his country, not his family; Nor while his pride owned avarice withstands, Receives close bribes, from friends corrupted hands.
Is there a churchman who on God relies Whose life, his faith and doctrine justifies Not one blown up, with vain prelatic pride, Who for reproofs of sins does man deride; Whose envious heart makes preaching a pretence With his obstreperous, saucy eloquence, To chide at kings, and rail at men of sense; Who from his pulpit vents more peevlsh lies, More bitter railings, scandals, calumnies, Than at a gossiping are thrown about When the good wives get drunk, and then fall out.
None of that sensual tribe, whose talents lie In avarice, pride, sloth, and gluttony.
Who hunt good livings; but abhor good lives, Whose lust exalted, to that height arrives, They act adultery with their own wives.
And ere a score of years completed be, Can from the loftiest pulpit proudly see, Half a large parish their own progeny.
Nor doting bishop, who would be adored For domineering at the Council board; A greater fop, in business at fourscore, Fonder of serious toys, affected more, Than the gay, glittering fool at twenty proves, With all his noise, his tawdry clothes and loves.
But a meek, humble man, of honest sense, Who preaching peace does practise continence; Whose pious life's a proof he does believe Mysterious truths which no man can conceive.
If upon Earth there dwell such god-like men, I'll here recant my paradox to them, Adores those shrines of virtue, homage pay, And with the rabble world their laws obey.
If such there are, yet grant me this at least, Man differs more from man than man from beast.
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