To all who have ever been forced to endure the inane conversation of a self-absorbed cellphone user, I offer this obscure old poem, published in the May 11, 1889 issue of Littell’s Living Age.

The author of “A Year of Silence”, known to us only by the initials “A. G. B.”, would probably die of apoplexy if transported to our present era of the cell phone chatterbox.

A Year of Silence

OH for a year of silence! Could we go
Each to our quiet desk, or house, or field,
And cease our babbling; plough, and reap, and sow,
And read old books, and ransack treasures sealed
Of learning, writ in ages long ago!
Then let some strong-souled Gordon take the field
Of action; while the masters, “they who know,”
Would ravage Time its honeyed stores to yield!
That were as dreamland! Pulpit, senate, mart,
Suddenly silent; only Nature heard
With her still music, or her prophet’s word!
The while the noisy blusterer would depart,
Where men talk least, his year of grace to spend,
To learn his ignorance and his manners mend!


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