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Robert Graves (1895–1985). Fairies and Fusiliers. 1918.

9. Mr. Philosopher

OLD Mr. Philosopher

Comes for Ben and Claire,

An ugly man, a tall man,

With bright-red hair.

The books that he’s written

No one can read.

“In fifty years they’ll understand:

Now there’s no need.

“All that matters now

Is getting the fun.

Come along, Ben and Claire;

Plenty to be done.”

Then old Philosopher,

Wisest man alive,

Plays at Lions and Tigers

Down along the drive—

Gambolling fiercely

Through bushes and grass,

Making monstrous mouths,

Braying like an ass,

Twisting buttercups

In his orange hair,

Hopping like a kangaroo,

Growling like a bear.

Right up to tea-time

They frolic there.

“My legs are wingle,”

Says Ben to Claire.