With A Volume Of Verse.

A poem by Henry Austin Dobson

About the ending of the Ramadán,
When leanest grows the famished Mussulman,
A haggard ne'er-do-well, Mahmoud by name,
At the tenth hour to Caliph OMAR came.
"Lord of the Faithful (quoth he), at the last
The long moon waneth, and men cease to fast;
Hard then, O hard! the lot of him must be,
Who spares to eat ... but not for piety!"
"Hast thou no calling, Friend?"--the Caliph said.
"Sir, I make verses for my daily bread."
"Verse!"--answered OMAR. "'Tis a dish, indeed,
Whereof but scantily a man may feed.
Go. Learn the Tenter's or the Potter's Art,--
Verse is a drug not sold in any mart."

I know not if that hungry Mahmoud died;
But this I know--he must have versified,
For, with his race, from better still to worse,
The plague of writing follows like a curse;
And men will scribble though they fail to dine,
Which is the Moral of more Books than mine.

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