Cotton-Wool

Shun the brush and shun the pen,
Shun the ways of clever men,
When they prove that black is white,
Whey they swear that wrong is right,
When they roast the singing stars
Like chestnuts, in between the bars,
_Children, let a wandering fool
Stuff your ears with cotton-wool._

When you see a clever man
Run as quickly as you can.
You must never, never, never
Think that Socrates was clever.
The cleverest thing I ever knew
Now cracks walnuts at the Zoo.
_Children, let a wandering fool
Stuff your ears with cotton-wool._

Homer could not scintillate.
Milton, too, was merely great.
That's a very different matter
From talking like a frantic hatter.
Keats and Shelley had no tricks.
Wordsworth never climbed up sticks.
_Children, let a wandering fool
Stuff your ears with cotton-wool._

Lincoln would create a gloom
In many a London drawing-room;
He'd be silent at their wit,
He would never laugh at it.
When they kissed Salome's toes,
I think he'd snort and blow his nose.
_Children, let a wandering fool
Stuff your ears with cotton-wool._

They'd curse him for a silly clown,
They'd drum him out of London town.
Professor Flunkey, the historian,
Would say he was a dull Victorian.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke and John,
Bless the bed I rest upon.
_Children, let a wandering fool
Stuff your ears with cotton-wool._
Amen.

by Alfred Noyes

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