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Benjamin Franklin King

Ben King was born on March 17, 1857 in St. Joseph, Michigan. He married Aseneth Belle Latham, of St. Joseph, on November 27, 1883, in Chicago, and had two sons. King belonged to the Chicago Press Club and to the Whitechapel Club, which attracted authors and journalist. He published verse in newspapers and journals like The Century, sometimes under the pseudonym Bow Hackley. He died on tour, April 8, 1894, in Bowling Green, Kentucky, after a public reading the previous night, and two days later was buried in St. Joseph. It was friends from the Press Club who published Ben King's Verse in 1894, a collection reprinted many times, because King's work was popular.

The Pessamist

Nothing to do but work,
Nothing to eat but food,
Nothing to wear but clothes
To keep one from going nude.

Nothing to breathe but air
Quick as a flash 't is gone;
Nowhere to fall but off,
Nowhere to stand but on.

Nothing to comb but hair,
Nowhere to sleep but in bed,
Nothing to weep but tears,
Nothing to bury but dead.

Nothing to sing but songs,
Ah, well, alas! alack!
Nowhere to go but out,
Nowhere to come but back.

Nothing to see but sights,
Nothing to quench but thirst,
Nothing to have but what we've got;
Thus thro' life we are cursed.

Nothing to strike but a gait;
Everything moves that goes.
Nothing at all but common sense
Can ever withstand these woes.