John Drinkwater


The Dying Philosopher to His Fiddler

Come, fiddler, play one tune before I die.
Philosophy is barren, and I lie
Untouched now by the plagues of all the schools,
And only silly fiddlers are not fools.

Bring then your bow, and on the strings let be,
In this last hour, merely the melody
Of waves and leaves and footfalls hazardous,
Where crafty logic shall not keep with us.

The patient fields of knowledge did I sow;
I have done with knowledge for I nothing know,
Wisdom and folly set their faces hence,
And in their eyes a twin-intelligence.

Only your notes may quick again the keen
Tree-shadows cut upon the paddock's green.
The pools where mirrored branches are at rest,
The heron lifting to her windy nest.

And these are things that know not argument;
Come, fiddler, play; philosophy is spent.
Out of my thought the chiding doctors slip,
And you are now the only scholarship.