Verse > Anthologies > William McCarty, ed. > The American National Song Book
William McCarty, comp.  The American National Song Book.  1842.
Verses from the Other World
(Supposed) by Dr. Franklin

From the Freeman’s Journal, or the North American Intelligencer—June 2, 1790

DEAR poets, why so full of pain?
Why so much grief for Dr. Ben?
Love for your tribe I never had;
Nor wrote three stanzas, good or bad.
At funerals sometimes grief appears,        5
Where legacies have purchased tears—
’Tis nonsense to be sad for nought—
From me you never gain’d a groat.
To better trades I turn’d my views,
And never meddled with the muse:        10
Great things I did for rising states,
And kept the lightning from some pates;
This grand discovery, you adore it,
But ne’er will be the better for it;—
You still are subject to those fires,        15
For poets’ houses have no spires.
Philosophers are famed for pride,
But pray be modest—when I died
No sighs disturb’d old ocean’s bed,
Nor nature wept—for Franklin dead.        20
That day on which I left the coast,
A beggar man was also lost;
If nature wept, you must agree
She wept for him—as well as me.
There’s reason e’en in telling lies—        25
In such profusion of her sighs
She was too sparing of a tear—
In Carolina, all was clear.
And if there fell some snow and sleet,
Why must it be her winding sheet?        30
Snows long hath clothed the vernal plain;
Have melted—and will melt again.
Poets, I pray you go to school—
Dame nature is not quite a fool;
When to the dust great men she brings,        35
Make her do some—uncommon things.

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