Verse > Anthologies > Fuess and Stearns, eds. > The Little Book of Society Verse
Fuess and Stearns, comps.  The Little Book of Society Verse.  1922.
A Dialogue from Plato
By Austin Dobson
        “Les temps le mieux employe est celui qu’on perd.”

I’D read three hours. Both notes and text
    Were fast a mist becoming;
In bounced a vagrant bee, perplexed,
    And filled the room with humming.
Then out. The casement’s leafage sways,        5
    And, parted light, discloses
Miss Di., with hat and book,—a maze
    Of muslin mixed with roses.
“You’re reading Greek?” “I am—and you?”
    “O, mine’s a mere romancer!”        10
“So Plato is.” “Then read him—do;
    And I’ll read mine in answer.”
I read. “My Plato (Plato, too,—
    That wisdom thus should harden!)
Declares ‘blue eyes look doubly blue        15
    Beneath a Dolly Varden.’”
She smiled. “My book in turn avers
    (No author’s name is stated)
That sometimes those Philosophers
    Are sadly mistranslated.”        20
“But hear,—the next’s in stronger style:
    The Cynic School asserted
That two red lips which part and smile
    May not be controverted!”
She smiled once more—“My book, I find,        25
    Observes some modern doctors
Would make the Cynics out a kind
    Of album-verse concoctors.”
Then I—“Why not? ‘Ephesian law,
    No less than time’s tradition,        30
Enjoined fair speech on all who saw
    DIANA’S apparition.’”
She blushed—this time. “If Plato’s page
    No wiser precept teaches,
Then I’d renounce that doubtful sage,        35
    And walk to Burnham-beeches.”
“Agreed,” I said. “For Socrates
    (I find he too is talking)
Thinks Learning can’t remain at ease
    While Beauty goes a-walking.”        40
She read no more. I leapt the sill:
    The sequel’s scarce essential—
Nay, more than this, I hold it still
    Profoundly confidential.

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