Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, LES BOURGEOIS, by GEORGE CABOT LODGE



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LES BOURGEOIS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Be silent! Let them laugh and lie
Last Line: Respectability, the mood of fear!
Subject(s): Bourgeoisie; Middle Class


Be silent! Let them laugh and lie
Nor speak nor heed but come away;
In truth they neither live nor die,
More vain than gaudy flies that play
And perish in the vital day.

By rule and custom, time and place,
Secure in noise and littleness,
They live and laugh and lust a space,
Incurious of themselves lest stress
Of truth annul their nothingness.

Their borrowed praise, their hired blame,
Their timid platitudes, their greed,
The virtue of their hidden shame,
The vices of their sordid creed,
Are theirs to serve a social need.

Their crime then? None! Their lives are food
To vainer things, and they shall seem,
Afraid of sin, too weak for good,
Once vanished, like a stupid dream
That never was -- and now my theme! --

Be something, good or bad! Be real!
They are not, -- we'll take issue here
Against them! -- not for base ideal
Or murdered truth, but for their mere
Respectability, the mood of fear!





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