The Friend Of Humanity And The Rhymer

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

"Emam tua carmina sanus?"--MARTIAL.

F. OF H. I want a verse. It gives you little pains;--
You just sit down, and draw upon your brains.

Come, now, be amiable.

R. To hear you talk,
You'd make it easier to fly than walk.
You seem to think that rhyming is a thing
You can produce if you but touch a spring;

That fancy, fervour, passion--and what not,

Are just a case of "penny in the slot."
You should reflect that no evasive bird
Is half so shy as is your fittest word;
And even similes, however wrought,
Like hares, before you cook them, must be caught;--

Impromptus, too, require elaboration,
And (unlike eggs) grow fresh by incubation;
Then,--as to epigrams,..

F. of H. Nay, nay, I've done.
I did but make petition. You make fun.

R. Stay. I am grave. Forgive me if I ramble:
But, then, a negative needs some preamble
To break the blow. I feel with you, in truth,
These complex miseries of Age and Youth;
I feel with you--and none can feel it more
Than I--this burning Problem of the Poor;
The Want that grinds, the Mystery of Pain,
The Hearts that sink, and never rise again;--
How shall I set this to some careless screed,
Or jigging stave, when Help is what you need,
Help, Help,--more Help?

F. of H. I fancied that with ease
You'd scribble off some verses that might please,
And so give help to us.

R. Why then--TAKE THESE!

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