Meditation Upon A Broomstick





This single stick, which you now behold ingloriously lying in that

neglected corner, I once knew in a flourishing state in a forest; it

was full of sap, full of leaves, and full of boughs: but now in vain

does the busy art of man pretend to vie with nature, by tying that

withered bundle of twigs to its sapless trunk. It is now at best but the

reverse of what it was, a tree turned upside down, the branches on the

earth, and the root in the air. It is now handled by every dirty wench,

condemned to do her drudgery, and by a capricious kind of fate, destined

to make her things clean, and be nasty itself. At length, worn out to

the stumps in the service of the maids, it is either thrown out of

doors, or condemned to the last use, of kindling a fire. When I beheld

this, I sighed and said within myself, Surely, mortal man is a

broomstick! Nature sent him into the world strong and lusty, in a

thriving condition, wearing his own hair on his head, the proper

branches of this reasoning vegetable, until the axe of intemperance has

lopped off his green boughs, and left him a withered trunk: he then

flies to art, and puts on a periwig, valuing himself upon an unnatural

bundle of hairs, all covered with powder, that never grew upon his head;

but now, should this, our broomstick, pretend to enter the scene,

proud of those birchen spoils it never bore, and all covered with dust,

though the sweepings of the finest lady's chamber, we should be apt to

ridicule and despise its vanity. Partial judges that we are of our own

excellencies, and other men's defaults!



But a broomstick, perhaps you will say, is an emblem of a tree

standing on its head; and pray what is man but a topsy-turvy creature,

his animal faculties perpetually mounted on his rational, his head where

his heels should be, groveling on the earth! and yet, with all his

faults, he sets up to be a universal reformer and corrector of abuses, a

remover of grievances, * * sharing deeply all the while in the very same

pollutions he pretends to sweep away: his last days are spent in slavery

to women, and generally the least deserving; till worn to the stumps

like his brother besom, he is either kicked out of doors, or made use of

to kindle flames for others to warm themselves by.





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