The Poetry Corner

The Seven Ages of Wise

By Banjo Paterson (Andrew Barton)

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.