John Boyle O'Reilly

(28 June 1844 - 10 August 1890 / Dowth Castle, County Meath)

Vignettes - Poem by John Boyle O'Reilly

“AND Smith has made money?'
'O, no; that's a myth:
Smith never made money
But money made Smith!'


A sculptor is Deming—a great man, too;
But the chisel of fancy the hand outstrips;
While he talks of the wonder he's going to do
All the work of his fingers leaks out at his lips!


'A scholar, sir! To Brown six tongues are known!'
(The Blockhead! never spoke one thought his own!)


Johnson jingled his silver—though he never had much to purloin;
But Jackson jingled his intellect—O, give us Johnson's coin!


At school a blockhead—sullen, wordless, dull;
His size well known to even his smallest mate;
Grown up, men say: ' How silent! He is full
Of will and wisdom! ' Truly mud is great!

An honest man! Jones never broke the law.
The wretch behind the bars he scorned with pride.
But these same bars on every side he saw:
Jones lived in prison—on the other side.


A hideous fungus in the wine-vault grows,
Liver-like, loathsome, shaking on its stalk:
Above the wine-vault, too (to him who knows),
The cursed mushroom lives and walks and talks.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 20, 2012

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