Paul Laurence Dunbar

(1872-1906 / Ohio / United States)

At Cheshire Cheese - Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar

When first of wise old Johnson taught,
My youthful mind its homage brought,
And made the pond'rous crusty sage
The object of a noble rage.

Nor did I think (How dense we are!)
That any day, however far,
Would find me holding, unrepelled,
The place that Doctor Johnson held!

But change has come and time has moved,
And now, applauded, unreproved,
I hold, with pardonable pride,
The place that Johnson occupied.

Conceit! Presumption! What is this?
You surely read my words amiss;
Like Johnson I,--a man of mind!
How could you ever be so blind?

No. At the ancient 'Cheshire Cheese,'
Blown hither by some vagrant breeze,
To dignify my shallow wit,
In Doctor Johnson's seat I sit!

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Poem Submitted: Friday, April 2, 2010

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