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Fuess and Stearns, comps.  The Little Book of Society Verse.  1922.
 
The Superfluous Man
By John Godfrey Saxe
 
          It is ascertained by inspection of the registers of many countries, that the uniform proportion of male to female births is as 21 to 20: accordingly, in respect to marriage, every 21st man is naturally superfluous.
Treatise on Population.    

I LONG have been puzzled to guess,
  And so I have frequently said,
What the reason could really be
  That I never have happened to wed;
But now it is perfectly clear        5
  I am under a natural ban;
The girls are already assigned,—
  And I’m a superfluous man!
 
Those clever statistical chaps
  Declare the numerical run        10
Of women and men in the world,
  Is Twenty to Twenty-and-one;
And hence in the pairing, you see,
  Since wooing and wedding began,
For every connubial score,        15
  They’ve got a superfluous man!
 
By twenties and twenties they go,
  And giddily rush to their fate,
For none of the number, of course,
  Can fail of a conjugal mate;        20
But while they are yielding in scores
  To Nature’s inflexible plan,
There’s never a woman for me,—
  For I’m a superfluous man!
 
It is n’t that I am a churl,        25
  To solitude over-inclined;
It is n’t that I am at fault
  In morals or manners or mind;
Then what is the reason, you ask,
  I’m still with the bachelor-clan?        30
I merely was numbered amiss,—
  And I’m a superfluous man!
 
It is n’t that I am in want
  Of personal beauty or grace,
For many a man with a wife        35
  Is uglier far in the face;
Indeed, among elegant men
  I fancy myself in the van;
But what is the value of that,
  When I’m a superfluous man?        40
 
Although I am fond of the girls,
  For aught I could ever discern
The tender emotion I feel
  Is one that they never return;
’T is idle to quarrel with fate,        45
  For, struggle as hard as I can,
They’re mated already, you know,—
  And I’m a superfluous man!
 
No wonder I grumble at times,
  With women so pretty and plenty,        50
To know that I never was born
  To figure as one of the Twenty;
But yet, when the average lot
  With critical vision I scan,
I think it may be for the best        55
  That I’m a superfluous man!
 
 
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