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The Pessimist

Benjamin Franklin King 1857 (St. Joseph, Michigan) – 1894 (Bowling Green, Kentucky)



1 Nothing to do but work,
2 Nothing to eat but food,
3 Nothing to wear but clothes
4 To keep one from going nude.

5 Nothing to breathe but air
6 Quick as a flash 't is gone;
7 Nowhere to fall but off,
8 Nowhere to stand but on.

9 Nothing to comb but hair,
10 Nowhere to sleep but in bed,
11 Nothing to weep but tears,
12 Nothing to bury but dead.

13 Nothing to sing but songs,
14 Ah, well, alas! alack!
15 Nowhere to go but out,
16 Nowhere to come but back.

17 Nothing to see but sights,
18 Nothing to quench but thirst,
19 Nothing to have but what we've got;
20 Thus thro' life we are cursed.

21 Nothing to strike but a gait;
22 Everything moves that goes.
23 Nothing at all but common sense
24 Can ever withstand these woes.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Benjamin Franklin King

Benjamin Franklin King Jr. was an American humorist and poet whose work published under the names Ben King or the pseudonym Bow Hackley achieved notability in his lifetime and afterwards. According to a short biography by Opie Read, as a child he was reputed a piano prodigy; in adult life he was by many deemed a failure for his lack of business instinct. But as "a poet, a gentle satirist and a humorist of the highest order, he achieved notability" in his short life for a series of newspaper published poems. more…

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    "The Pessimist" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 29 Sep. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/4249/the-pessimist>.

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