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“GOODHEÁRTED, kind and generous, to a fault,
In all his dealings scrupulously just,
He were the model of a perfect man
Hád he his sénses; but this constant laughing,
Nothing but laughing, morning noon and night
Is évidence, alas! but too convincing,
Our good Democritus is gone stark mad.
Let 's send to Athens for Hippocrates;
Perhaps the wise physician knows some herb
Pótent to chase thought's fever and bring back
Composure to the agitated brain."
Come to Abdéra and his finger laid
Upón his patient's pulse Hippocrates,
Nothing wrong finding, asks Democritus :
“At whát so merry?” But Democritus,
Instead of answering, only laughed the more:
“At whát so merry, good Democritus ?”
But still Democritus only laughed the more;
Until at last, after a long, long fit,
Tired thus he said to the amazed physician:
“Go back to Athens, good Hippocrates,
Unless you 'd have me die downright with laughing.
.” “Hów or at what?” “Why at the learned Doctor Who, sént to cure me, makes me ten times worse. Before you came I used to amuse myself With laughing at the silly people here
Who thought me mad because a little wiser,
A very little wiser, than themselves;
And now my laughing 's doubled at the sage
Athénian Doctor who would cure my madness.
Go back to Athens, good Hippocrates,
Or stáy and cure the people of Abdéra,
And leave me to myself to laugh at both
Dóctor and patients.” So Hippocrates
Went back to 'Athens, saying he had found
In áll Abdéra only one man sane
And that one sáne man was Democritus.
The story 's nó less true told of the poet
Whó with his pen in hand keeps laughing, laughing,
Still laughing at the follies he sees round him,
With this one only difference, that the poet
Finds seldom an Hippocrates to judge him.
Near MONTEBELLO, while walking from VICENZA to VERONA, Aug. 15 – 16, 1854.
I can put up with people of all sorts, if only they have money, I can find beauty in all kinds of eyes, if only they are funny, I can live anywhere in town or country where it 's only sunny, I can eat fish of any kind, fresh, salt or pickled, except tunny, But curse me, if I can without a massy crystal spoon eat honey.
Küssnacht, on the VIERWALDSTÄTTER SEE, Sept. 20, 1854.
If háppy you would be tomorrow
Todáy must be a day of sorrow,
For Fórtune 's never tired of ranging
And Lúck of all things loves place-changing:
Todáy good luck, tomorrow bad;
Sórry today, tomorrow glad;
Take úp, put down; now none, now all;
So spíns teetotum, twirls the ball;
Lúcky, we bless kind Providence,
Unlucky, with no jot more sense
Upbraid the Author of all ill,
For mán must be religious still,
And háve his Oberon and his Puck,
Thát for his good, this for his ill luck.
TAUERNHAUS, FEHRLEITEN, at the foot of the Gross-GLOCKNER, July 16, 1854.
The first draught of cold water when you 're thirsty
Is not delicious only but divine,
Bálsam and nectar or whatever more
The grateful heart can say or think of praise;
The sécond draught falls short of the delicious,
Though not unpleasant, though even pleasant still;
The third palls on the taste and you turn from it
Avérse, and will no more, not even one drop;
Fórced to the fourth you swallow with displeasure,
Loathing and pain the odious beveragė,
Which, fórced upon you still, becomes at last
Your dírest enemy, your deadliest poison,
The water all the while being the same,
Ánd the last draught refreshing as the first,
Hadst thou thyself not in the meantime changed.
Go tó! go tó! ye that an absolute good
Or absolute bád find in the outward world
And look not in yourselves for that which makes
The indifferent, outward object good or bad.
ALPnach in the valley of SARNEN, Sept. 23, 1854.
A cát that in a barn the day
Had moúsing spent among the hay
Without success, and thought her fast
Was likely now till morn to last,
Spied, with her eyes half closed to sleep,
Out of a hole a fát rat creep
And joyful cried, with claw and fang
As on th' unhoped-for prey she sprang:
“Whó could believe with common sense
There 's no such thing as Providence ?
Whát but a special Providence sent
This fát rat for my nourishment?”
“Ah,” squeaked the rát loud, "it 's a good
Providence gives rats to cats for food !”
"THERE 's nothing like experience” -- I heard once
An old fly to a young one say, as both
About my study buzzed in the golden sunbeams: —
“Only experience teaches what to follow
And whát to shun; only experience guides
In safety through th' intricacies of life.
Bút for experience Í had months ago
The préy been of that fell and cunning spider;
Bút for experience' salutary counsel
I 'd limed perhaps both foot and wing ere now
In yon pestiferous dish of viscid flý-trap.
List ever to experience, child, and thank God
Thát he 's vouchsafed us the unerring guide
But áren't you lonely in this wide room here?
Cóme and let 's pay a visit to the blackbird
That sings so sweetly in the cage in the window.”
“Let 's go by all means if it 's only safe,”
Replied the young fly; “what says your experience ?”
“Nóthing on this point; I have never yét been
Inside a blackbird's cage; it 's plain it 's pleasant,
We 'll never younger learn whether it 's safe;
Expérience can be got only by trying.”
So saíd, and through the bars direct they flew,
With cívil buzz of greeting, to the blackbird
Whó in the midst of his song made so long pause
As was required to snap at and down swallow
First one and then the other of th' intruders,
Then, táking up his song again, praised God
That only after the evil comes experience.
While travelling with the Postboy from NEUSTADT to GeissENFELD (BAVARIA), July 3, 1854.