The Philosopher With His Kite

By Hannah Flagg Gould

Flying a kite! at a childish play!
Is FRANKLIN mad? Have his noble powers
Of mind been crushed? Is this the way
A wise Philosopher spends his hours?
‘I am not mad,’ he calmly said,
And gave the line to his silken kite,
As into the regions of air she sped,
And pulled for more, in upward flight.
‘I’m going to do what none has done,
Since man has breathed, or the spheres have whirled;
To show the lightning where to run,
And to turn its point for the rising world!
‘The secret sparks, that the vapors wrap
In their dusky folds, I’m going to bring
Across my kite with her iron cap,
And down to me on a hempen string.
‘Ere yonder threatening cloud shall wink,
I’ll make her carry her head so nigh
To its sable face, she shall reach and drink
At the fiery stream from its awful eye.
‘In truth and soberness now I aim,
Though none before may have aimed so far,
To lead the electric wildfire tame
Out of the clouds, to fill my jar!
‘I’ll bring a debt on the world, and such
As the richest and greatest ne’er can pay,
Till they for posterity do as much
As, flying my kite, I do to-day!’

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