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Brander Matthews.

Pen and ink; papers on subjects of more or less importance online

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putting fortb a booh entitled " 'Pen and Ink."



New London, Conn., Sept. 10, 1888.

Dear Grander:

I have known ihee long, and found
Thee wise in council, and of judgment sound;
Steadfast in friendship, sound and clear in wit t
And more in virtues than may here be writ.
But most I joy, in these machine-made days.
To see thee constant in a craftsman's ways;
That the plain tool that knew thy 'prentice hand
Gathers no rust upon thy writing-stand;
That no Invention saves the labor due
To any Task that's worth the going through;
That now when butter snubs the stranger churn,
Plain pen and ink still serve a writer s turn.
Though I, more firmly orthodox, still hold,
In dire default of quills, to steel or gold,
And though thy pen be rubber let it pass
A breath of blemish on thy soul's clear glass.

971



There is no "writing fluid " in thy pot,
'But honest ink ofnutgatt brew, God wot!
Thou dost not an eleftric needle ply
And, like a housewife with an apple-pie,
Prick thy fair page into a stencil-plate
Then daub with lampblack for a duplicate.
Nor thine the sloven page whereon the shirk
With the rough tool attempts the finished work,
And introduces to the sight of men
The Valet Pencil for the Matter Pen.

Not att like thee! in this uneasy age,

When more by trick than toil we earn our wage.

Here by the sea a gentle poet dwells,

And in fair leisure weaves bis magic Spells;

And yet doth dare with countenance serene

To weave them on a tinkling steel machine.

Where an impertinent and soulless bell

Rings, at each finished line, a jangling hneU.

The muse and I, we love him, and I think

She MAY forgive his slight to pen and ink,

And let no dull mechanic cam or cog

The lightsome movement of his metres clog;

But oh! I grieve to see his fingers toy

With this base slave in dalliance close and coy,

While in his standisb dries the atrid Spring

Where hides the shyer muse that loves to sing.



Give me the old-time ink, black, flowing, free,
And give, oh, give! the old goose-quill to me
The goose-quill, whispering of humility.



-\



It whispers to the bard: "Fly not too bigb!
You flap your wings remember, so could I.
I cackled in my lifetime, it is true;
'But yet again remember, so do You.
And tbere were some things possible to me
That possible to you will never be.
I stood for hours on one columnar leg,
And, if my sex were such, could lay an egg.
Ob, well for you, if you could thus beget
Material for your morning omelette;
Or, iftbings came to such a defperate pass,
You could in calm contentment nibble grass!
Conceited bard ! and can you sink to rest
Upon the feather-pillow of your breast?"

Hold, my dear Grander, to your pot of ink:
The muse sits poised upon that fountain's brink.
eAnd that you long may live to bold a pen
I'll breatbe a prayer;

The world will say "Amen!"

H. C. BUNNER.



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Online LibraryBrander MatthewsPen and ink; papers on subjects of more or less importance → online text (page 14 of 14)