six blind men and the elephant

tonight was introduced to a poem that i’d never run across before

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 the broad and sturdy side, at once began to brawl
“Why bless me! but the elephant, is very much like a wall!”

the second, feeling of the tusk, Cried: “Oh! what have we here
so round and smooth 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 his eager hand, and felt about the knee
“What most this wondrous beast is like, is very plain,” quoth he:
“‘Tis clear enough the elephant, is very like a tree!”

The fifth who chanced to to touch the ear, said “Even the blindest man can tell what this resembles most, defy 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
than 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 partially in the right, and all were in the wrong

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