The Mind's Diet

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

  No life worth naming ever comes to good
If always nourished on the selfsame food;
The creeping mite may live so if he please,
And feed on Stilton till he turns to cheese,
But cool Magendie proves beyond a doubt,
If mammals try it, that their eyes drop out.

  No reasoning natures find it safe to feed,
For their sole diet, on a single creed;
It spoils their eyeballs while it spares their tongues,
And starves the heart to feed the noisy lungs.

  When the first larvæ on the elm are seen,
The crawling wretches, like its leaves, are green;
Ere chill October shakes the latest down,
They, like the foliage, change their tint to brown;
On the blue flower a bluer flower you spy,
You stretch to pluck it — 'tis a butterfly;
The flattened tree-toads so resemble bark,
They're hard to find as Ethiops in the dark;
The woodcock, stiffening to fictitious mud,
Cheats the young sportsman thirsting for its blood;
So by long living on a single lie,
Nay on one truth, will creatures get its day;
Red, yellow, green, they take their subject's hue,—
Except when squabbling turns them black and blue!

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.