Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE GIFT OF THE GODS, by JOHN GODFREY SAXE



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THE GIFT OF THE GODS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The saying is wise, though it sounds like a jest
Last Line: We are certain to pay for whatever we get!
Subject(s): "no Free Lunches"";


THE saying is wise, though it sounds like a jest,
That "The gods don't allow us to be in their debt,"
For though we may think we are specially blest.
We are certain to pay for the favors we get!

Are Riches the boon? Nay, be not elate;
The final account is n't settled as yet;
Old Care has a mortgage on every estate,
And that's what you pay for the wealth that you get!

Is Honor the prize? It were easy to name
What sorrows and perils her pathway beset;
Grim Hate and Detraction accompany Fame,
And that's what you pay for the honor you get!

Is Learning a treasure? How charming the pair
When Talent and Culture are lovingly met;
But Labor unceasing is grievous to bear,
And that's what you pay for the learning you get!

Is Genius worth having? There is n't a doubt;
And yet what a price on the blessing is set, --
To suffer more with it than dunces without,
And that's what you pay for the genius you get!

Is Beauty a blessing? To have it for nought
The gods never grant to their veriest pet;
Pale Envy reminds you the jewel is bought,
And that's what you pay for the beauty you get!

But Pleasure? Alas! -- how prolific of pain!
Gay Pleasure is followed by gloomy Regret;
And often Repentance is one of her train,
And that's what you pay for the pleasure you get!

But surely in Friendship we all may secure
An excellent gift; never doubt it, -- and yet
With much to enjoy there is much to endure,
And that's what we pay for the friendship we get!

But then there is Love? -- Nay, speak not too soon;
The fondest of hearts may have reason to fret;
For Fear and Bereavement attend on the boon,
And that's what we pay for the love that we get!

And thus it appears -- though it sounds like a jest --
The gods don't allow us to be in their debt;
And though we may think we are specially blest,
We are certain to pay for whatever we get!





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