THE CONFESSION OF A CRITIC.
(LINES WRITTEN IN AN ALBUM.)
DEAR Madam, in my critic-den I dip a mercenary pen, And scribble ceaselessly for pelf : But once I wrote—to please myself.
Ah me ! the novels that I planned, The plays I wrote (they're still on hand) ; Ah me ! the hopes and fears that slipped Into each futile manuscript !
Since then, I'm grown a man of letters And sit in judgment on my betters, Who hold to what was my intent, Whose art is tragically meant, Who pin their faith to far-off years, Who stir to laughter and to tears,
Who sing the songs I'd fain have sung In the good days—when I was young.
Ah me, my verses ! Yet one gains
Perhaps a virtue youth disdains, And grows contented to acclaim
Those others rising into fame.
And, once or twice in a blue moon,
Some echo of the half-heard tune Rings in my head; then for a day I write—and do not write for pay.
And so, dear Madam, since you willed That write I should—my page is filled.