Matter and Spirit: The Question Stated
Some trace from all we eat or drink,
But most from beef the power to think.
These half philosophers opined,
The mind is beef, since beef is mind.
Yet what awakes more energy,
Than after beef hot fragrant tea?
Whence algebra might agree brief,
The mind is surely tea plus beef.
Some think, the soul consists in wine,
Since, quaffing that, we are all divine;
While others, who believe in spirit,
Contend, from gin flows every merit.
Souls more ethereal still would prove,
That all true genius springs from love.
And where’s the lovesick maid can think
Us mortals born to eat or drink?
No wonder then, ’tis off forgot,
Lovers need ought to boil the pot.
Perhaps are tea and wine the stream,
Where moves the lofty mind supreme;
While beef’s the hull and love the sails
That catches life’s most favoring gale.
’Mid all these warring themes ’tis plain
Eternal minds o’er body reign:
Not from tea, beef, or sparkling wine,
Of Heaven’s the ethereal soul divine.
’Tis said that Earth, air, water, fire,
To form all worldly things conspire —
To modern chemists wiser grown,
Some fifty elements are known;
To which are daily added more —
While mine somewhat exceed a score.
And these, whate’er be done, thought, said,
Whate’er exists, alive, or dead;
In various forms, compose the whole
Of Nature’s works, from pole to pole.
’Tis certain, that whatever thrives
On Earth, or under water lives,
The Earth itself, nay all it holds,
Confess my true all plastic moulds.
E’en metaphysics own my sway,
Nor can the empty words convey
Their true no-meaning, jargon weak,
Unless it gives them power to speak
Nay thought itself on me depends,
My aid its rapid flight attends;
And, tho’ it oft outrun my speed,
Without me none can write or read,
Yet the chief wonder it may seem to thee,
I a small fraction of myself should be.