[’Tis misconception all] [poem by Menie Parkes]

[Editor: This poem by Menie Parkes was published in Poems (1867).]

[’Tis misconception all]

A philosopher said, “All the world is mad; I am the only sane man in it.”

“’Tis misconception all. The world is mad,
And I alone am sane.” Such the words
Of England’s living sage, he rightly proud
Of wisdom in the courts of wisdom.

An unit in that full and flowing crowd
Of miserable maniacs, I, like them,
Was too intent to win the happiness
And worth of life, to value high the search
For possibilities, convertible,
It might be, to the probable. Too full,
Within the limits of a biassed mind,
Of the sweet claims of many clinging friends,
And the dear wisdom of kind deeds,
And daily earnestness of common life,
To yield, unquestioned, that high-voiced demand
Of all-engrossing sanity. Wise, thought I,
Mothers who bend o’er the helpless babes;
And wise the husbandman, who brings
From God’s right hand our daily bread;
And wise the toiler ’midst the clang
Of mighty engines for the world’s behoof;
And wise, most humbly wise, the innocent,
If ignorant, who bend the knee
And bow the heart to learn of God.
Thus, tho’ yet in love with wisdom, I
Shrank back with thoughts akin to hate or scorn,
And called the wise man — egotist.

Menie Parkes, Poems, F. Cunninghame, Sydney, [1867], pages 15

Editor’s notes:
The title of this poem, “’Tis misconception all”, was listed on the contents page of the booklet, although there was no title given on the page on which the poem was printed.

behoof = advantage, benefit, or profit (e.g. “it was created for their own behoof”)

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