Then and Now – Unknown, 1869

The day has been when statesmen ruled the land,
And guided our affairs with skilful hand;
When knaves and demagogues with glozing speech,
Could not retain men’s ears, though they might reach.
That day has passed-who bawls the loudest now,
Has the most brazen cheek and shameless brow,
Who stops at no deceit in quest of pelf,
Whose faith is plunder, and whose God is self,
Whose life is stained with falsehood, and whose prime
Is faintest most with every baser crime,
Whose politics is but a cloak-his boast
To wear that side exposed which profits most-
Just such a man, if man the wretch be thought,
Is quickest now to high promotion brought.
He in the Senate or the forum stands,
He is an envoy grave to foreign lands;
Grave interests are submitted to his sway,
While fools admire him, and all men obey.
The old-time statesman, by historians drawn,
Too just to flatter, and too proud to fawn,
Replaced by things like these! Oh, wretched time,
When honesty’s despised and knowledge crime!

Last Updated on March 2, 2021 by Bill Arp

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