Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

NATURE'S GENTLEMAN, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Whom do we dub as gentlemen? The knave, the fool, the brute
Last Line: Nature puts forth her gentleman, and monarchs must give place.
Subject(s): Nature

Whom do we dub as gentlemen? The knave, the fool, the brute --
If they but own full tithe of gold and wear a courtly suit!
The parchment scroll of titled line, the riband at the knee,
Can still suffice to ratify and grant such high degree:
But nature, with a matchless hand, sends forth her nobly born,
And laughs the paltry attributes of wealth and rank to scorn;
She moulds with care a spirit rare, half human, half divine,
And cries exulting, "Who can make a gentleman like mine?"

She may not spend her common skill about the outward part,
But showers beauty, grace, and light, upon the brain and heart?
She may not choose ancestral fame his pathway to illume --
The sun that sheds the brightest day may rise from mist and gloom.
Should fortune pour her welcome store, and use ful gold abound,
He shares it with a bounteous hand and scatters blessings round.
The treasure sent is rightly spent, and serves the end designed,
When held by nature's gentleman, the good, the just, the kind.

He turns not from the cheerless home, where sorrow's offsprings dwell;
He'll greet the peasant in his hut -- the culprit in his cell.
He stays to hear the widow's plaint of deep and mourning love,
He seeks to aid her lot below, and prompt her faith above.
The orphan child, the friendless one, the luckless, or the poor,
Will never meet his spurning frown, or leave his bolted door;
His kindred circles all mankind, his country all the globe --
An honest name his jewelled star, and truth his ermine robe.

He wisely yields his passions up to reason's firm control --
His pleasures are of crimeless kind, and never taint the soul.
He may be thrown among the gay and reckless sons of life,
But will not love the revel scene, or head the brawling strife.
He wounds no breast with jeer or jest, yet bears no honeyed tongue!
He's social with the gray-haired one, and merry with the young;
He gravely shares the council speech or joins the rustic game,
And shines as nature's gentleman, in every place the same.

No haughty gesture marks his gait, no pompous tone his word,
No studied attitude is seen, no palling nonsense heard;
He'll suit his bearing to the hour -- laugh, listen, learn, or teach,
With joyous freedom in his mirth, and candour in his speech.
He worships God with inward zeal, and serves him in each deed;
He would not blame another's faith nor have one martyr bleed;
Justice and mercy form his code; he puts his trust in Heaven;
His prayer is, "If the heart mean well, may all else be forgiven!"

Though few of such may gem the earth, yet such rare gems there are,
Each shining in his hallowed sphere as virtue's polar star.
Though human hearts too oft are found all gross, corrupt, and dark,
Yet, yet some bosoms breathe and burn; lit by Promethean spark,
There are some spirits nobly just, unwarped by pelf or pride,
Great in the calm, but greater still when dashed by adverse tide, --
They hold the rank no king can give, no station can disgrace.
Nature puts forth her gentleman, and monarchs must give place.

Discover our Poem Explanations and Poet Analyses!

Other Poems of Interest...

Home: PoetryExplorer.net