"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Thursday, 10 September 2009

The Price Of Experience #2

I referenced this poem earlier and thought you might like to see the rest of it:
What is the price of Experience ?
Do men buy it for a song ?
Or wisdom for the price of a dance in the street ?
No, it is bought with the price of all Man hath, his house, his wife, his children.
Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy, and in the wither’d field where the farmer ploughs for bread in vain.

It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer’s sun, and in the vintage, and to sing on the wagon loaded with corn.
It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted, to speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer, to listen to the hungry raven’s cry in wintry season when the red blood is filled with wine and with the marrow of lambs.

It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements, to hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan; to see a god in every wind and a blessing on every blast; to hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our enemies’ house; to rejoice in the blight that covers his field and the sickness that cuts off his children; while our olive and vine sing and laugh round our door, and our children bring fruits and flowers.

Then the groan and the dolor are quite forgotten, and the slave grinding at the mill, and the captive in chains, and the poor in prison, and the soldier in the field when the shatter’d bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead.

It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity:
Thus could I sing, and thus rejoice.
But it is not so with me !

WILLIAM BLAKE
from Enion’s Second Lament

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