The Hermit

AN ATTACK ON BARBERCRAFT

AT last an end of all I hoped and feared!

Muttered the hermit through his elfin beard.

 

Then what art thou? the evil whisper whirred.

I doubt me sorely if the hermit heard.

 

To all God’s questions never a word he said,

But simply shook his venerable head.

 

God sent all plagues; he laughed and heeded not;

Till people took him for an idiot.

 

God sent all joys; he only laughed amain,

Till people certified him as insane.

 

But somehow all his fellow-lunatics

Began to imitate his silly tricks.

 

And stranger still, their prospects so enlarged

That one by one the patients were discharged. {137}

 

God asked him by what right he interfered;

He only laughed into his elfin beard.

 

When God reveled Himself to mortal prayer

He gave a fatal opening to Voltaire.

 

Our hermit had dispensed with Sinai’s thunder,

But on the other hand he made no blunder;

 

He knew (no doubt) that "any" axiom

Would furnish bricks to build some Donkeydom.

 

But! — all who urged that hermit to confess

Caught the infection of his happiness.

 

I would it were my fate to dree his weird;

I think that I will grow an elfin beard.

{138}

 

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