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REASON VERSUS CUSTOM; AN APOLOGUE, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: Once on a time, a man of sterling sense
Last Line: "my course by reason, and she brought me here!"
Subject(s): Reason; Intellect; Rationalism; Brain; Mind; Intellectuals

ONCE on a time, a man of sterling sense
At Fashion's whims and shams took such offense,
He vowed, at last, that not another day
Would he submit to her despotic sway;
Thenceforth, he said, do others as they might, --
He meant, for one, to follow Reason's light!
"A brave resolve!" his laughing neighbors cried.
"Well, well," he answered, "you shall see it tried
In practice; thus -- when Fashion disagrees
With Reason (as in life one daily sees)
I mean, henceforth, in all things, great and small,
As you shall note, to follow Reason's call."
And so it came to pass; from that day forth,
He judged all things by their intrinsic worth
Or seeming fitness; furnished his abode,
And wore his clothes, regardless of the mode;
All things discarding as a foolish waste
Which seemed discordant with the laws of taste,
Or clearly served no profitable end;
Whate'er, in brief, his reason might commend
Of old or new he took into his plan
Of living, -- like a reasonable man;
In Fashion's mere despite rejecting naught,
Nor at her mere behest accepting aught
Which Reason interdicted. Who can say
He was not wise, or name a wiser way?
A scheme like this should surely prosper well;
But if you ask me truthfully to tell
The sequel, -- I must candidly confess
'T was what the reader may have chanced to guess.
With every step our bold reformer took,
By just so much -- consider -- he forsook
The common path. "The oddest man in town!"
His neighbors said, at first -- then set him down
For "half-demented!" By and by, they vowed
Such wild, strange actions should not be allowed;
The man was clearly "going to the bad."
At last, his dear relations proved him mad,
In open court, and shut him in a cell;
Where long he lived with lunatics, to tell
His doleful tale; and earnestly advise
Against the foolishness of being wise
Where folly is the mode! -- "I tried to steer
My course by Reason, and she brought me here!"

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