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Monday, July 23, 2018

Careless Philosopher’s Soliloquy

Guest Blogger Dept.: There’s no question in my mind that Henry Livingston wrote “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” the poem we incorrectly title “The Night before Christmas” and incorrectly attribute to Clement Moore – and Moore, the old bastard, wasn’t averse to taking false credit for it. Here’s more verse by Livingston, a sonnet whose message never will stale.


Henry Livingston, Jr.
I rise when I please, when I please I lie down
Nor seek, what I care not a rush for, renown:
The rattle call’d wealth I have learnt to despise
Nor aim to be either important or wise.

Let women & children & children-like men
Pursue the false trollop the world has called fame.
Who just as enjoyed, is instantly flown
And leaves disappointment the hag in her room.

If the world is content not to stand in my way
The world may jog on both by night & by day
Unimpeded by me - not a straw will I put
Where a dear fellow-creature uplifteth its foot.

While my conscience upbraids not, I’ll rise and lye down
Nor envy a monarch his cares and his crown.

– Henry Livingston, Jr., 1787

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