“Epitaph In Bookish Style,” by Benjamin Franklin, Poet.

posted in: Paean, Poetry 1
"When Benjamin Franklin arrived in Paris, he was wearing a little fur cap to keep his bald head warm. To the French, the hat was the embodiment of the rugged American frontiersman and proof that Franklin was a true "natural man." In fact, Franklin sent back to America for a large supply of the caps, which he wore everywhere around Paris."
Portrait of Ben Franklin, c. 1776, Paris. I can’t locate the artist’s name. I have read that in this picture, he is supposedly wearing a coonskin cap to communicate his rugged Americanness. 

In observance of Independence Day, I will share a poem written by Benjamin Franklin. Of all the founding fathers, I know the least about him. I did know he wrote poems, though, and so I found and read a few of them today.

Epitaph In Bookish Style
by Benjamin Franklin

The Body of Benjamin Franklin (Printer)
(Like the cover of an old book
Its contents torn out
And stript of its lettering and gilding)
Lies here, food for worms.
But the work shall not be lost
For it will (as he believed) appear once more
In a new and more elegant edition
Revised and corrected
The Author. 

Happy Birthday, America. Please, please do not blow your — or anyone else’s — face off with a firecracker.

  1. Lisa D.
    | Reply

    Cosmic T. here,
    Mary, Not Contrary,
    How did you find this ? You are like the ferret of goodies! It is the answer to one of my long sought for questions about Ben and his beliefs that I have had for many years. It is so very satisfying to realize that in spite of the revisionists, he has an eloquent explanation of his belief system. If Ben the ‘Renaissance Man’ could leave us this clue to his disappearance and reappearance, on “That Day”, then there is hope for the lovely Day of Independence, to have great meaning in the Here After, also. Thank you for sending this down to us from your treasure hunt collection. I have bound a couple of books and restored my Bible. To think that he equated himself to a volume is very funny, and very apropos. After all he is a volume! Wish I could have read him. He is a most interesting avant garde man. It is hard to charm the royals and ladies of court in Europe, as he did with his naughty blarneyness , and keep up your reputation and belief system. ( Without Ben we wouldn’t be celebrating this day.) Apparently you don’t get to the end of your life, and a life lived as his was, without having some things to be forgiven for…. and only the Author of life forgives those who ask him. So glad Ben was one of our country’s Authors. This poem makes it obvious and most probable, that if Ben could rhyme this, that most of them believed in The Author and Finisher Of Our Faith, they believed Him, they were not all a bunch of deists as the revisionists would have us believe!

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