The Seven Ages of Wise

A poem by Andrew Barton Paterson

Parliament's a stage,
And all the Politicians merely players!
They have their exits and entrances,
And Wise doth in his time play many parts,
His acts being seven changes.

First the Runner,
With spiked shoe he spurns the cinder track,
And just for once runs straight.

The next the Student,
Burning the midnight oil with Adam Smith
For Cobden Medals.

Next the youthful member,
With shining morning face, creeping between
Two seasoned leaders into place and power
Before his whiskers grow.

The next the bravo.
Jealous of greater men, he cries, "Ha, Ha!
Beware Bernardo's dagger!", and would strike
His friend i' th' back.

Then come a sudden change.
Once more a child, he comes with quick-turned coat,
New friends, new doctrines, and new principles,
Lets Friedman loose, and wrecks the Government.
Then leads the horny-handed sons of toil
By many a specious promise to their doom
In Arbitration Courts.

Last scene of all,
That ends this strange, disastrous history.
He aims at Judgeships and Commissionerships,
But, failing, passes on to mere oblivion.
Sans place, sans power, sans pay, sans everything.

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