Lapsus Calami (Apr 1891)/The Philosopher and Philanthropist

Lapsus Calami  (1891)  by J.K.S.
The Philosopher and Philanthropist

First published in Out of School at Eton and later included in Lapsus Calami. In the third and subsequent editions it is followed immediately by "To a Friend".

The Philosopher and Philanthropist

Searching an infinite Where,
Probing a bottomless When,
Dreamfully wandering,
Ceaselessly pondering,
What is the Wherefore of men:
Bartering life for a There,
Selling his soul for a Then,
Baffling obscurity,
Conning futurity,
Usefulest, wisest of men!

Grasping the Present of Life,
Seizing a definite Now,
Labouring thornfully,
Banishing scornfully
Doubts of his Whither and How:
Spending his substance in Strife,
Working a practical How,
Letting obscurity
Rest on futurity,
Usefuler, wiser, I trow.