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- "MAN wants but little here below,
- Nor wants that little long."
- 'Tis not with me exactly so;
- But 'tis so in the song.
- My wants are many and, if told,
- Would muster many a score;
- And were each wish a mint of gold,
- I still should long for more.
- What first I want is daily bread --
- And canvas-backs, -- and wine --
- And all the realms of nature spread
- Before me, when I dine.
- Four courses scarcely can provide
- My appetite to quell;
- With four choice cooks from France beside,
- To dress my dinner well.
- What next I want, at princely cost,
- Is elegant attire :
- Black sable furs for winter's frost,
- And silks for summer's fire,
- And Cashmere shawls, and Brussels lace
- My bosom's front to deck, --
- And diamond rings my hands to grace,
- And rubies for my neck.
- I want (who does not want?) a wife, --
- Affectionate and fair;
- To solace all the woes of life,
- And all its joys to share.
- Of temper sweet, of yielding will,
- Of firm, yet placid mind, --
- With all my faults to love me still
- With sentiment refined.
- And as Time's car incessant runs,
- And Fortune fills my store,
- I want of daughters and of sons
- From eight to half a score.
- I want (alas! can mortal dare
- Such bliss on earth to crave?)
- That all the girls be chaste and fair, --
- The boys all wise and brave.
- I want a warm and faithful friend,
- To cheer the adverse hour,
- Who ne'er to flatter will descend,
- Nor bend the knee to power, --
- A friend to chide me when I'm wrong,
- My inmost soul to see;
- And that my friendship prove as strong
- For him as his for me.
- I want the seals of power and place,
- The ensigns of command;
- Charged by the People's unbought grace
- To rule my native land.
- Nor crown nor sceptre would I ask
- But from my country's will,
- By day, by night, to ply the task
- Her cup of bliss to fill.
- I want the voice of honest praise
- To follow me behind,
- And to be thought in future days
- The friend of human-kind,
- That after ages, as they rise,
- Exulting may proclaim
- In choral union to the skies
- Their blessings on my name.
- These are the Wants of mortal Man, --
- I cannot want them long,
- For life itself is but a span,
- And earthly bliss -- a song.
- My last great Want -- absorbing all --
- Is, when beneath the sod,
- And summoned to my final call,
- The Mercy of my God.
- John Quincy Adams
- Washington, August 31, 1841.
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