The Merchant

Mammon by George Frederic Watts 1884-5

Title: Mammon – Dedicated to his Worshippers
Artist: George Frederic Watts 1817-1904
Location: Tate Britain Art Gallery, London

 

The Merchant

By Edward Young (1683-1765)

Thee, Trade! I first — who boast no store,
Who owe thee nought — thus snatch from shore,
The shore of Prose, where thou has slumbered long;
And send thy flag triumphant down
The tide of time to sure renown.
O Bless my country! And thou pay’st my song….

Is “merchant” an inglorious name?
No; fit for Pindar such a theme;
Too great for me; I pant beneath the weight.
If loud as Ocean were my voice,
If words and thoughts to court my choice
Outnumber’d sands, I could not reach its height.

Merchants o’er proudest heroes reign;
Those trade in blessing, these in pain,
At slaughter swell, and shout while nations groan.
With purple monarchs merchants vie;
If great to spend, what to supply?
Priests pray for blessings; merchants
pour them down.

Kings, merchants are in league and love,
Earth’s odours pays soft airs above,
That o’er the teeming field prolific range.
Planets are merchants; take, return,
Lustre and heat; by traffic burn;
The whole creation is one vast Exchange….

Reference:
The Poetry of Business Life: An Anthology, by Ralph Windle, published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers, copyright in 1994.
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