The Pessimist

Original Text: 
Ben King's Verse, ed. Nixon Waterman, introduction by John McGovern, biography by Opie Read (Chicago: Forbes, 1899): 225-26. PS 2169 K8 1899 Robarts Library.
2    Nothing to eat but food,
3Nothing to wear but clothes
4    To keep one from going nude.
5Nothing to breathe but air
6    Quick as a flash 't is gone;
7Nowhere to fall but off,
8    Nowhere to stand but on.
9Nothing to comb but hair,
10    Nowhere to sleep but in bed,
11Nothing to weep but tears,
12    Nothing to bury but dead.
13Nothing to sing but songs,
14    Ah, well, alas! alack!
15Nowhere to go but out,
16    Nowhere to come but back.
17Nothing to see but sights,
18    Nothing to quench but thirst,
19Nothing to have but what we've got;
20    Thus thro' life we are cursed.
21Nothing to strike but a gait;
22    Everything moves that goes.
23Nothing at all but common sense
24    Can ever withstand these woes.

Notes

1] Alternate title: "The Sum of Life." Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.
Rhyme: