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THE WANTS OF MAN.

"MAN wants but little here below,
     Nor wants that little long."
'Tis not with me exactly so;
     But 'tis so in the song.
My wants are many and, if told,
     Would muster many a score;
And were each wish a mint of gold,
     I still should long for more.

What first I want is daily bread –
     And canvas-backs – and wine –
And all the realms of nature spread
     Before me, where I dine.
Four courses scarcely can provide
     My appetite to quell;
With four choice cooks from France beside,
     To dress my dinner well.

What next I want, at princely cost,
     Is elegant attire:
Black sable furs for winter's frost,
     And silk for summer's fire,
And Cashmere shawls, and Brussel's lace
     My bosom's front to deck, –
And diamond rings my hands to grace,
     And rubies for my neck.

I want (who does not want?) a wife, –
     Affectionate and fair;
To solace all the woes of life,
     And all its joys to share.
Of temper sweet, of yielding will,
     Of firm, yet placid mind, –
With all my faults to love me still
     With sentiment refined.

And as Time's car incessant runs,
     And Fortune fills my store,
I want of daughters and of sons
     From eight to half a score.
I want (alas! can mortal dare
     Such bliss on earth to crave?)
That all the girls be chaste and fair, –
     The boys all wise and brave.

I want a warm and faithful friend,
     To cheer the adverse hour;
Who ne'er to flatter will descend,
     Nor bend the knee to power, –
A friend to chide me when I'm wrong,
     My inmost soul to see;
And that my friendship prove as strong
     To him as his to me.

I want the seals of power and place,
     The ensigns of command;
Charged by the People's unbought grace
     To rule my native land.
Nor crown nor sceptre would I ask,
     But from my country's will,
By day, by night, to ply the task
     Her cup of bliss to fill.

I want the voice of honest praise
     To follow me behind,
And to be thought in future days
     The friend of human-kind,
That after ages, as they rise,
     Exulting may proclaim
In choral union to the skies
     Their blessings on my name.

These are the Wants of mortal Man, –
     I cannot want them long,
For life itself is but a span,
     And earthly bliss – a song.
My last great Want – absorbing all
     Is, when beneath the sod,
And summoned to my final call,
     The Mercy of my God.

                    JOHN QUINCY ADAMS


 
copyright, Kellscraft Studio, 1999
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