The Distressed Poet.

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

A Suggestion From Hogarth.

One knows the scene so well,--a touch,
A word, brings back again
That room, not garnished overmuch,
In gusty Drury Lane;

The empty safe, the child that cries,
The kittens on the coat,
The good-wife with her patient eyes,
The milkmaid's tuneless throat;

And last, in that mute woe sublime,
The luckless verseman's air:
The "Bysshe," the foolscap and the rhyme,--
The Rhyme ... that is not there!

Poor Bard! to dream the verse inspired--
With dews Castalian wet--
Is built from cold abstractions squired
By "Bysshe," his epithet!

Ah! when she comes, the glad-eyed Muse,
No step upon the stair
Betrays the guest that none refuse,--
She takes us unaware;

And tips with fire our lyric lips,
And sets our hearts a-flame,
And then, like Ariel, off she trips,
And none know how she came.

Only, henceforth, for right or wrong,
By some dull sense grown keen,
Some blank hour blossomed into song,
We feel that she has been.

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