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The Magpie Sings the Great Depression:
Selections from DeWitt Clinton High School's Literary Magazine, 1929-1942

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Galileo

By Sidney Tomshinsky, '31

The Magpie, June 1931, v. 32, n. 2, p. 44.

(To the Officers of the Inquisition)

My lords, I am grown old and weak;
There was a time when I would seek
The truth in its last hiding-place
And drag it out and show its face
To all the world. Ah, years ago,
A new star's rays would make me glow
With joy. But what is truth, good sirs?
A non-existing wraith, that stirs
Man's heart to useless questionings.
These truths are evil, grinning things
That beckon us to ruin. Peace
Alone is kind and gives surcease
From troubling doubts. You have stamped out
My brain's live coals and put to rout
My coward spirit, oh, my lords;
I crave the calm that peace affords
And I will take it at your price,
Nor will I be exact or nice
About the terms you ask. What do
You wish of me, my lords? Would you
That I bow low? I do so now.
Would you that I here swear and vow
Obedience to your decree?
If I did ever try to see
Through clouds too dense for poor, blind man;
If I did ever sit and scan
The movements of the stars and say
The earth does not in quiet stay
While all the stars cruise 'round her head;
And dared affirm the sun instead
Is central pivot of the skies,
And it, not earth, forever lies
At rest, I do repent it here;
Abjure my posture as a seer,
And do all things that it behooves
Me now to do. (But yet, earth moves!)
You ask me what I said just then?
My lord, I only asked again
That you might grant my fervent plea
And pardon all my wrongs, and me.




The Magpie Sings the Great Depression

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