The Seven Ages of Wise

Andrew Barton Paterson 1864 (Orange, New South Wales) – 1941 (Sydney, New South Wales)

Parliament's a stage,
And all the Politicians merely players!
They have their exits and entrances,
And Wise doth in his time play many parts,
His acts being seven changes.
First the Runner,
With spiked shoe he spurns the cinder track,
And just for once runs straight.

The next the Student,
Burning the midnight oil with Adam Smith
For Cobden Medals.

Next the youthful member,
With shining morning face, creeping between
Two seasoned leaders into place and power
Before his whiskers grow.

The next the bravo.
Jealous of greater men, he cries, "Ha, Ha!
Beware Bernardo's dagger!" -- and would strike
His friend i' th' back.

Then come a sudden change.
Once more a child, he comes with quick-turned coat,
New friends, new doctrines, and new principles,
Lets Friedman loose, and wrecks the Government.
Then leads the horny-handed sons of toil
By many a specious promise to their doom
In Arbitration Courts.

Last scene of all,
That ends this strange, disastrous history.
He aims at Judgeships and Commissionerships,
But, failing, passes on to mere oblivion.
Sans place, sans power, sans pay, sans everything.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Andrew Barton Paterson

Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson, was an Australian bush poet, journalist and author. He wrote many ballads and poems about Australian life, focusing particularly on the rural and outback areas, including the district around Binalong, New South Wales, where he spent much of his childhood. Paterson's more notable poems include "Clancy of the Overflow" (1889), "The Man from Snowy River" (1890) and "Waltzing Matilda" (1895), regarded widely as Australia's unofficial national anthem. more…

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