Works of Frederick Engels, 1839

Book Wisdom [3]

Written: in March 1839
First published: in Der Bremer Stadtbote No. 8, March 24, 1839
Signed: Th. Hildebrandt

He is not wise who from his reading draws
Nothing but floods of useless erudition.
For all his learning, life’s mysterious laws
Are a closed book beyond his comprehension.
He who acquires a thorough textbook grounding
In Botany, won’t hear the grass that grows.
Nor will he ever teach true understanding
Who tells you all the dogma that he knows.
Oh, no! The germ lies hid in man’s own heart.
Who seeks the art of life must look within.
Burning the midnight oil will not impart
The secret of emotion’s discipline.
The man is lost who hears his own heart’s voice
And spurns it, wilfully misapprehending.
Of all your words so noble and so wise
The most profound is human understanding.