A Song from the Coptic

                                                                                   James Clarence Mangan  (1803-1849)


Quarrels have long been in vogue among sages;

Still, though in many things wranglers and rancorous,

All the philosopher-scribes of all ages

Join, una voce, on one point to anchor us.

Here is the gist of their mystified pages,

Here is the wisdom we purchase with gold –

            Children of Light, leave the world to its mulishness,

            Things to their natures, and fools to their foolishness;

                        Berries were bitter in forests of old.

Hoary old Merlin, that great necromancer,

Made me, a student, a similar answer,

When I besought him for light and for lore:

            Toiler in vain! Leave the world to its mulishness

            Things to their natures, and fools to their foolishness;

                        Granite was hard in the quarries of yore.

And on the ice-crested heights of Armenia,

And in the valleys of broad Abyssinia,

Still spake the Oracle just as before:

            Wouldst thou have peace, leave the world to its mulishness

            Things to their natures, and fools to their foolishness;

                        Beetles were blind in the ages of yore.

4 comments on “A Song from the Coptic

  1. JoAnne Bauer says:

    A definite service to other poets & a joy to peruse!

    Like

  2. maryangeladouglas says:

    Beautiful beautiful poem and incredibly apt, deeply consoling in its aptness like pictures of gold, apples of silver or however that goes.

    Liked by 1 person

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