Futility by C.J. Dennis

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Following a meeting of seamen at the wharf laborers' rooms in Melbourne today, there is a possibility of the colliers from Newcastle being declared black when they arrive in Melbourne.

To gild refined gold, or to paint the lily,
   Or seek by other means to overstress,
As Shakespeare has it, is not merely silly,
   But "wasteful and ridiculous excess."

Yes, men still try it, for no other reason
   Than that man ever would and ever will
Strive fatuously, in and out of season,
   To paint perfection's cheek more perfect still.

Yet of all futile tasks, of all the foolish,
   Absurd attempts that show of wit a lack,
The worst is his who, obstinate and mulish,
   Insists that he should paint a collier black.

First published in The Sun-News Pictorial, 9 June 1927

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 9, 2013 5:57 PM.

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