Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
From "The Four Zoas," by William Blake
- What is the price of experience? Do men buy it for a song?
- Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price
- Of all a 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 plows 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 waggon loaded with corn.
- It is an easy thing to talk of prudence 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 fill’d 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 slaughterhouse moan;
- To see a god on 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 dolour are quite forgotten, and the slave grinding at the mill,
- And the captive in chains, and the poor in the 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.
More from SDReader
- From “The 94 Psalm” — March 12, 2014
- The Second Day of the Year — Jan. 2, 2013
- From Auguries of Innocence, a Poem by William Blake — Jan. 12, 2011
- Van "the Man" Morrison Brings the Past to Town — Sept. 29, 2010
- Dover Beach — Jan. 28, 2010