The Friends of Man


Vying for Athens, the rational gods, of course
For that great city where rational life began,
Before Mankind lost power to control Man,
Gave sensible gifts, the Olive and the Horse.

Meeting today Athene asks to know:
‘If in this age all were to do again,
With divine foresight for the needs of men,
What rational benefit could we bestow?’

‘War, famine and plague!’ the Earthshaker replies,
‘Plague, famine and prolonged, relentless war
Are now the only possible checks that can
Control their numbers, since they breed like flies
And devastate the earth and strip it bare,
Proclaim these three alone the Friends of Man.’

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