Henry David Thoreau: Walden

1. Economy (continued)

                         COMPLEMENTAL VERSES
                     The Pretensions of Poverty
           Thou dost presume too much, poor needy wretch,
           To claim a station in the firmament
           Because thy humble cottage, or thy tub,
           Nurses some lazy or pedantic virtue
           In the cheap sunshine or by shady springs,
           With roots and pot-herbs; where thy right hand,
           Tearing those humane passions from the mind,
           Upon whose stocks fair blooming virtues flourish,
           Degradeth nature, and benumbeth sense,
           And, Gorgon-like, turns active men to stone.
           We not require the dull society
           Of your necessitated temperance,
           Or that unnatural stupidity
           That knows nor joy nor sorrow; nor your forc'd
           Falsely exalted passive fortitude
           Above the active.  This low abject brood,
           That fix their seats in mediocrity,
           Become your servile minds; but we advance
           Such virtues only as admit excess,
           Brave, bounteous acts, regal magnificence,
           All-seeing prudence, magnanimity
           That knows no bound, and that heroic virtue
           For which antiquity hath left no name,
           But patterns only, such as Hercules,
           Achilles, Theseus.  Back to thy loath'd cell;
           And when thou seest the new enlightened sphere,
           Study to know but what those worthies were.
                                  T. CAREW

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