The Poet Answered

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The Poet Answered
by Stephen Leacock
Appeared in Literary Lapses, published in 1910.

Dear sir:

In answer to your repeated questions and requests which have appeared for some years past in the columns of the rural press, I beg to submit the following solutions of your chief difficulties:--

Topic I.--You frequently ask, where are the friends of your childhood, and urge that they shall be brought back to you. As far as I am able to learn, those of your friends who are not in jail are still right there in your native village. You point out that they were wont to share your gambols. If so, you are certainly entitled to have theirs now.

Topic II.--You have taken occasion to say:

"Give me not silk, nor rich attire,
Nor gold, nor jewels rare."

But, my dear fellow, this is preposterous. Why, these are the very things I had bought for you. If you won't take any of these, I shall have to give you factory cotton and cordwood.

Topic III.--You also ask, "How fares my love across the sea?" Intermediate, I presume. She would hardly travel steerage.

Topic IV.--"Why was I born? Why should I breathe?" Here I quite agree with you. I don't think you ought to breathe.

Topic V.--You demand that I shall show you the man whose soul is dead and then mark him. I am awfully sorry; the man was around here all day yesterday, and if I had only known I could easily have marked him so that we could pick him out again.

Topic VI.--I notice that you frequently say, "Oh, for the sky of your native land." Oh, for it, by all means, if you wish. But remember that you already owe for a great deal.

Topic VII.--On more than one occasion you wish to be informed, "What boots it, that you idly dream?" Nothing boots it at present--a fact, sir, which ought to afford you the highest gratification.