Curious John Given Find

This untitled poem that John Given of Suite Harmonic left in his copy of Byron at his death is by an unknown author. It was hand written and very difficult to transcribe. While its meaning is a bit elusive, one might conclude that John saved it because it reflected his desire to live in the present. It is one of the things I studied in trying to gain some understanding of his philosophical outlook, particularly in his later life. The photographs of the poem and John Given’s signed copy of Byron are courtesy of their owner, Pam Greer.

Besotted man wastes half his time
Deep diving for the bliss sublime
            That fills another sphere
This world will surely ser’ our day
And Reasons God and Nature say
            Mortals be happy here
O had the time and silver spent
on things ne’er ettled to be kent
            By creatures wi’ five senses
Been spent on moral education
How changed–how blest had been our station
How large our recompences.

What ser’s it for us to hear o’ heaven
O’ harps and songs and white robes given
            O’ golden dyks and thrones
To ken the cut o’ angels wings
If here we’re crushed by priests and kings
   Young Queens and widowed drones
Another world I don’t dispute
In space some millions whirl about
            I surely canna miss one
But first–one step preparatory
Before I mount another story
I’d like my share o’ this one.


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