Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1446. A Plain Man’s Dream
By Frederick Keppel
WERE I transported to some distant star
  With fifty little children, girls and boys,
Or to some fabled land unknown, afar,
  Where never sound could come of this world’s noise;
Our world begun anew, as when of yore        5
  Sad Adam fled from Eden; I alone
The sole custodian of all human lore,—
  No books to aid, all rules and records gone,—
What could I teach each tender, untaught child?
  How much of this world’s wisdom could I give        10
To raise him from the savage, fierce and wild,
And train each soul a worthy life to live?
Plain human speech, some simple laws of life,
  A little tillage, household arts a few;
The law of rectitude o’ercoming strife;        15
  Things clean and sane, the simple and the true.
But of Man’s long, slow climb from Error’s reach,—
  The hard-won, precious wisdom of the ages,—
What (and, alas, how little!) could I teach
  Which changes men from savages to sages?        20
Some things I ’ve known I never would impart.
  Somewhat I ’d tell of building, writing, preaching;
Some hints I ’d give on healing, science, art;
  Love they would learn full soon without my teaching!


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