The Last Proof

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

AN EPILOGUE TO ANY BOOK

"Hic Finis chartaeque viaeque."

"FINIS at last--the end, the End, the END!
No more of paragraphs to prune or mend;
No more blue pencil, with its ruthless line,
To blot the phrase 'particularly fine';
No more of 'slips,' and 'galleys,' and 'revises,'
Of words 'transmogrified,' and 'wild surmises';
No more of n's that masquerade as u's,
No nice perplexities of p's and q's;
No more mishaps of ante and of post,
That most mislead when they should help the most;
No more of 'friend' as 'fiend,' and 'warm' as 'worm';
No more negations where we would affirm;
No more of those mysterious freaks of fate
That make us bless when we should execrate;
No more of those last blunders that remain
Where we no more can set them right again;

No more apologies for doubtful data;
No more fresh facts that figure as Errata;
No more, in short, O TYPE, of wayward lore
From thy most un-Pierian fount--NO MORE!"

So spoke PAPYRIUS. Yet his hand meanwhile
Went vaguely seeking for the vacant file,
Late stored with long array of notes, but now
Bare-wired and barren as a leafless bough;--
And even as he spoke, his mind began
Again to scheme, to purpose and to plan.

There is no end to Labour 'neath the sun;
There is no end of labouring--but One;
And though we "twitch (or not) our Mantle blue,"
"To-morrow to fresh Woods, and Pastures new."

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