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A poem by John Kendrick Bangs

The Rhyme Of The Ancient Populist

Title:     The Rhyme Of The Ancient Populist
Author: John Kendrick Bangs [More Titles by Bangs]

IT was an ancient populist,
His beard was long and gray,
And punctuated by his fist,
He had his little say:
"This is the age of gold," he said,
"’Tis gold for butter, gold for bread,
Gold for bonds and gold for fun;
Gold for all things ’neath the sun."
Then with a smile
He shook his head.
"Just wait awhile,"
He slyly said.
"When we get in and run the State
We’ll tackle gold, we’ll legislate.
We’ll pass an act
And make a fact
By which these gold-bugs will be whacked
Till they’re as cold
As is their gold.
We’re going to make a statute law by which ’twill be decreed
That standards are abolished, for a standard favors greed.
This is the country of the free, and free this land shall be
As soon as we the ‘people’ have our opportunity,
And he who has to pay a bill
Can pay in whate’er suits his will.
The tailor? Let him take his coats
And pay his notes;
Or if perchance
He’s long on pants,
Let trousers be
His _£. s. d._
The baker! Let his landlord take
His rent in cake,
Or anything the man can bake.
And if a plumber wants a crumb,
He may unto the baker come
And plumb.
A joker needing hats or cloaks
Can go and pay for them with jokes,
And so on: what a fellow’s got
Shall pay for things that he has not.
If beggars’ rags were cash, you’d see
No longer any beggary;
In short, there’d be no poverty."
"A splendid scheme," quoth I; "but stay!
What of the nation’s credit, pray?"
"Ha-ha! ho-ho!" he loudly roared.
"We’ll leave that problem to the Lord.
And if He fails to keep us straight
Once more we’ll have to legislate,
And so create,
Confounding greed,
As much of credit as we need."

[The end]
John Kendrick Bangs's poem: Rhyme Of The Ancient Populist