A Commentary On The Eastern Wise Men Poem by Thomas Paine

A Commentary On The Eastern Wise Men

Three pedlers traveling to a fair,
To see the fun and what was there,
And sell their merchandise;
They stopp'd upon the road to chat,
Refresh, and ask of this and that,
That they might be more wise.

'And pray,' the landlord says to them,
'Where go ye, sirs?' 'To Bethlehem,'
The citizens replied.
'You're merchants, sirs?” to them said he,
'We are,' replied the pedlers three,
'And Eastern men beside.'

pray, what have you in your packs?
If worth the while I will go snacks,'
To them quoth Major Domo;
'We've buckles, buttons, spectacles,
And everything a merchant sells,'
Replied the travelling trio.

These things are very well,' said he,
'For beaux and those who cannot see
Much further than their knuckles;
But Bethlehem fair's for boys and girls
Who never think of spectacles,
cannot buy your buckles:

'I have a pack of toys,' quoth he,
A travelling merchant left with me,
Who could not pay his score,
And you shall have them on condition
You sell them at a cheap commission,
And make the money sure.'

'There's one of us win stay in pawn,
Until the other two return,
If you suspect our faith,' said they;
The landlord thought this was a plan
To leave upon his hands the man,
And therefore he said 'Nay.'

They truck'd however for the pack,
Which one of them took on his back,
And off the merchants traveled;
And here the tale the apostles told
Of wise men and their gifts of gold,
Will fully be unravelled.

The star in the East that shines so bright,
As might be seen both day and night,
If you will credit them,
It was no other than a sign
To a public house where pedlers dine,
In East Street, Bethlehem.

These wise men were the pedlers three,
As you and all the world may see,
By reading to the end;
For commentators have mistook,
In paraphrasing on a book
They did not understand.

Our travellers coming to a house,
Scarce fit to entertain a mouse,
Inquired to have a room;
The landlord said he was not able,
To give them any but astable,
So many folks were come.

'I pray, whom have you here, say they,
' And how much money must we pay,
For we have none to spare.
'Why, there's one Joseph and a wench,
Who are to go before the bench
About a love affair.

'Somehow or other, in a manger,
A child exposed to every danger
Was found, as if 't was sleeping:
The girl she swears that she's a maid,
So says the man, but I'm afraid
On me will fall the keeping:

'Now if you 'II set your wits about
To find this knotty matter out,
I 'II pay whate'er it may be.”
Then on the trav'ling pedlers went,
To pay their birthday compliment,
And talk about the baby.

They then unpack'd their pack of toys,
Some were for show and some for noise,
But mostly for the latter;
One gave a rattle, one a whistle,
And one a trumpet made of gristle,
To introduce the matter:

One squeaked away, the other blew,
The third played on the rattle too,
To keep the bantling easy;
And hence this story comes to us,
Of which some people make such fuss,
About the Eastern Magi -

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Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine

the USA
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