To My Readers (Lapsus Calami)

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I do not boast a poet's bays,
Nor claim to wield a poet's pen,
Nor do I hope for many days
To buzz about the mouths of men.

I claim to be the sort of man
Who studies metrical effect:
Whose verses generally scan:
Whose rhymes are commonly correct;

And when I chance upon a thought
Which seems to shape itself in rhyme,
I like to treat it as I ought,
Unless the theme be too sublime.

It may be pleasure to rehearse,
When twilight deepens out of day,
The tinkle of a tiny verse
Which wiled the noon-tide hours away.

It may be pleasure to recall
The friends of yesterday to-morrow
But that's a pleasure—if at all—
Which borders very near on sorrow.

So, if I try to make you laugh,
Or if I chance to make you weep,
Your comrade when you crunch and quaff,
Your solace when you cannot sleep.

Its merely as a common man
Who says what other people say,
And hopes to end as he began,
A treader of the beaten way.

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.