Sunday, 31 July 2011

A poem on metaphysics

    O science metaphysical
    And very very quizzical
You only make this maze of life the mazier;
    For boasting to illuminate
    Such riddles dark as Will and Fate
You muddle them to hazier and hazier.

    The cause of every action
    You expound with satisfaction;
Through the mind in all its corners and recesses
    You say that you have travelled,
    And all problems unravelled
And axioms you call your learned guesses.

    Right and wrong you've so dissected,
    And their fragments so connected,
That which we follow doesn't seem to matter;
    But the cobwebs you have wrought,
    And the silly flies they have caught,
It needs no broom miraculous to shatter.

    You know no more that I,
    What is laughter, tear, or sigh,
Or love, or hate, or anger, or compassion;
    Metaphysics, then, adieu,
    Without you I can do,
And I think you'll very soon be out of fashion.

Written in 1897 by Lady Russell, grandmother and guardian of Bertrand Russell, as quoted in Earl Russell's (Bertrand Russell's elder brother, Frank) My Life and Adventure, London: Cassell & Co. Ltd., 1923. 

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