Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Modus in Rebus

Paul Hamilton Hayne (1830-1886), "The True Philosophy," Poems (Boston: D. Lothrop and Company, 1882), p. 52:
I'd have you use a wise philosophy,
In this, as in all matters, whereupon
Judgment may freely act; truth ever lies
Between extremes; avoid the spendthrift's folly
As you'd avoid the road of utter ruin;
For wealth, or at the least, fair competence,
Is honor, comfort, hope, and self-respect;
All, in a word, that makes our human life
Endurable, if not happy: scorn the cant
Of sentimental Dives, wrapped in purple,
Who over jewelled wine-cups and rich fare,
Affects to flout his gold, and prattles loosely
Of sweet content that's found in poverty:
As for the miser, he's a madman simply,
One who the means of all enjoyment holds,
Yet never dares enjoy: no, no, Anselmo,
Use with a prudent, but still liberal hand
That store the gods have given you; thus, my friend,
'Twixt the Charybdis of a churlish meanness,
And the swift Scylla of improvident waste,
You'll steer your bark o'er smooth, innocuous seas,
And reach at last a peaceful anchorage.

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