[from Collected Works, T.E.Brown]
O HAPPY souls, that mingle with your kind,
That laugh with laughers, weep with weepers,
Whom use gregarious to your like can bind,
Who sow with sewers, reap with reapers'.
To me it is not known,
The gentle art to moan
With moaners, wake with wakers, sleep with sleepers.
It must be good to think the common thought,
To learn with learners, teach with teachers ;
To hold the adjusted soul till it is brought
To pray with prayers, preach with preachers.
But I can never catch
The dominant mode, nor match
The tone, and whine with whiners, screech with screechers.
Yet surely there is warmth, if we combine
And loaf with loafers, hunt with hunters ;
It is a comfort as of nozzling swine
To row with rowers, punt with punters--
How is it then that I
Am alien to the stye,
Nor ever swill with swillers, grunt with grunters ?
I cannot choose but think it is a blessing
To fool with fools, to scheme with schemers ;
To feel another's arms your soul caressing,
To sigh with sighers, dream with dreamers-
But I can't hit the span,
The regulation man,
Ephemer decent with his co-ephemers.
Yet, after all, if frustrate of this pleasure,
To eat with eaters, drink with drinker's-,
If I can't find the Greatest Common Measure,
And cheat with cheaters, wink with winkers,
At any rate the struggle
My truer self to juggle,
And force my mind to fit
The standard ell of wit,
Shall never dwarf nor cramp me,
Shall never stint nor scamp me
So that I bleat with bleaters, slink with slinkers.
Thus spake I once, with fierce self-gratulation,
Nor hoped with hopers, feared with fearers ;
Yet, discontent, it seemed a mere privation
To doubt with doubters, sneer with sneerers
It seemed more happiness
A brother's hand to press,
To talk with talkers, hear with hearers.
Wherefore, albeit I know it is not great,
Mobbing with mobs, believing with believers,
Yet for the most it is a snugger state
To gain with gainers, grieve with grievers,
Than, desolate on a peak,
To whet one's lonely beak,
And watch the beaver huddling with the beavers.
But though this boon denied, my soul, love thou
The lover, gibe not with the giber !
O ragged soul! I cannot piece thee now
That, thread to thread, and fibre unto fibre,
Thou with another soul
Shouldst make a sentient whole
But I am proud thou dost retain
Some tinct of that imperial murex grain
No carrack ever bore to Thames or Tiber.