- By John Godfrey Saxe
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John Godfrey Saxe I (June 2, 1816 – March 31, 1887) was an American poet known for his re-telling of the Indian parable "The Blind Men and the Elephant",[1] which introduced the story to a Western audience. He also said "Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made." Saxe was born in 1816 in Highgate, Vermont,[2] at Saxe's Mills, where his settler grandfather, John Saxe (Johannes Sachse), a German immigrant and Loyalist to the Crown, built the area's first gristmill in 1786. Saxe was the son of Peter Saxe, miller, judge and periodic member of the Vermont General Assembly; and Elizabeth Jewett of Weybridge, Vermont. The poet was named for two of his paternal uncles, John and Godfrey, who had died as young men before his birth. Raised in a strict Methodist home, Saxe was first sent, in 1835, to Wesleyan University which he left after a year, and then to Middlebury College, from which he graduated in 1839.


"Close Up Shot of an Elephant's Face" by Digital Wallpapers is licensed under CC by-ND 2.0.

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
Though all of them were blind,
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant
And, happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me, but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling the tusk,
Cried, "Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis very clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal
And, happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up he spake:
"I see," quoth he, "The Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee:
"What most the wondrous beast is like
Is very plain," quoth he;
"Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said, "Even the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can:
This marvel of an elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong.
Though each was partly in the right,
They all were in the wrong!

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Additional Information:

Rating: C

Words: 258

Unique Words : 141

Sentences : 11

Reading Time : 1:08

Noun : 56

Conjunction : 24

Adverb : 19

Interjection : 3

Adjective : 21

Pronoun : 19

Verb : 41

Preposition : 24

Letter Count : 1,056

Sentiment : Positive

Tone : Neutral

Difficult Words : 53

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