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Poem by William Kennish
Reflections on Man (I’ve ofttimes thought why mortal man)
I’ve ofttimes thought why mortal man, Whose fleeting life is but a span Of vast eternity, Should strive his brother to oppress While trav’lling through this wilderness Of dread obscurity. In ages past, when we were not, Our foresires lived, tho’ now forgot Within their lowly bed, And so shall we, as well as they, Each in our turn soon pass away To moulder with the dead. Then, brothers, while we travel here, Let us the common blessings share, And banish sordid gain; It is the fount of earthly joy Man’s fleeting moments to employ To ease his brother’s pain. All that weak man requires below His Maker kindly doth bestow, And gives it free to all, — The fish, the fowl, the beast, the field, Abundant food for him doth yield At labour’s simple call. Then why should not mankind unite To help each other with delight Along life’s dreary road, And drive Oppression’s iron hand From ev’ry realm throughout the land Of our terrene abode? How better far mankind might be If they the bad effects would see Of ill-begotten wealth, For, to accumulate a store Unjustly of the glittering ore Is worse than craft, or stealth.
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