NO CLASSES

No classes here ! Why, that is idle talk.
    The village beau sneers at the country boor;
The importuning mendicants who walk
    Our city streets despise the parish poor.

The daily toiler at some noisy loom
    Holds back her garments from the kitchen maid;
Meanwhile the latter leans upon her broom,
    Unconscious of the bow the laundress made.

The grocer's daughter eyes the farmer's lass
    With haughty glances; while the lawyer's wife
Would pay no visits from the trading class
    If policy were not her creed in life.

The merchant's son nods coldly at the clerk;
    The proud possessor of a pedigree
Ignores the youth whose father rose by work--
    The title-seeking maiden scorns all three.

The aristocracy of blood looks down
    Upon the nouveaux riche, and in disdain,
The lovers of the intellectual frown
    On both, and worship at the shrine of Brain.

No classes here, the clergyman has said;
    We are one family. Yet see his rage
And horror when his favourite son would wed
    Some pure and pretty player on the stage.

It is the vain, and natural human way
    Of vaunting our weak selves, our pride, our worth !
Not till the long-delayed Millennial Day
    Shall we behold No classes on God's earth.
             --Ella Wheeler Wilcox, in Town Topics.

The Times-Democrat [New Orleans] 20 Sept. 1885: 6.

Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.


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