James Clerk Maxwell

(13 June 1831 – 5 November 1879 / Edinburgh, Scotland)

Tune, Il Segreto Per Esser Felice - Poem by James Clerk Maxwell


There are some folks that say,
They have found out a way,
To be healthy and wealthy and wise-—
"Let your thoughts be but few,
Do as other folk do,
And never be caught by surprise.
Let your motto be—Follow the fashion,
But let other people alone;
Do not love them, nor hate them, nor care for their fate,
But keep a look out for your own.
Then what though the world may run riot,
Still playing at catch who catch can;
You may just eat your dinner in quiet,
And live like a sensible Man."


’Twere a beautiful thing,
Thus to sit like a king,
And talk of the world turning round,
If it were not that we
Like all things that we see,
Are standing on moveable ground.
While we boast of our tranquil enjoyments,
The means of enjoyment are flown,
Both our joys and our pains, till there’s nothing remains,
But the tranquil repose of a stone.
The world may be utterly crazy,
And life may be labour in vain;
But I'd rather be silly than lazy,
And would not quit life for its pain.


In Nature I read
Quite a different creed,
There everything lives in the rest;
Each feels the same force,
As it moves in its course,
And all by one blessing are blest.
The end that we live for is single,
But we labour not therefore alone,
For together we feel how by wheel within wheel,
We are helped by a force not our own
So we flee not the world and its dangers,
For He that has made it is wise,
He knows we are pilgrims and strangers,
And He will enlighten our eyes.

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Read poems about / on: crazy, alone, hate, world, fate, beautiful, nature, together, people, pain, life, running

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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