Once there was a man —
Oh, so wise!
In all drink
He detected the bitter,
And in all touch
He found the sting.
At last he cried thus:
“There is nothing —
No life,
No joy,
No pain —
There is nothing save opinion,
And opinion be damned.”

Analysis, meaning and summary of Stephen Crane's poem Once there was a man


  1. Joshua says:

    I think Crane is adopting an incredibly pessimistic view of life in this poem; that there is no good, beauty, etc. It reminds of Wlliam Hazlitt’s On the Pleasure of Hating.

  2. Nimal says:

    what a clever poetical way of asking whether (for you/me) “is the glass 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?” – we have nothing but our opinions but THAT is what makes the difference to our lives; the ‘wise’ man was technically speaking, correct though! Correct but not right!!

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