I had a dream last night in which I seemed
To see myself a man immortal deemed.
My poems, lately placed upon the mart,
Had gone straight home to every reader's heart,
And fairly falling o'er each other's feet,
Demanding copies, mortals thronged the street
Before the doors of him who had to sell
The dainty verses that I loved so well.
Then, as I watched the scramble for my work,
An angel came and beckoned—with a smirk—
"Fitz-Alfred Massinger De Greene," she said,
"Lift up your optics blue and look ahead."
The which I did—for you must understand
At all times I obey the soft command
Of angels, whether wingéd ones or those
Who here do lighten or increase our woes.
And as I looked I saw a wondrous sight
That dazzled, 't was so marvelously bright,
As well it might be, for the scroll of fame
Stood straight before my eyes, and there the name—
Sensation sweet! Sensation, oh, how blest!—
Fitz-Alfred M. De Greene led all the rest.
I swooned with very joy, and then I woke
As yonder church bells sounded forth the stroke
I need not here unfold
Just how I rose and dressed. The crisp and cold
Of winter lingered in the atmosphere,
Yet not for me could anything be drear.
The while that dream of bliss did haunt my soul,
Life was all joy unmixed with tearful dole.
But hist! What sound is that I seem to hear?
The postman's whistle breaks upon my ear.
A missive from my publisher he brings
In confirmation of my dream—he flings
It through the open door.
Be quick to ope
O trusty paper-knife, this envelope.
Egad, it must be true; a check falls out,
And here 's a statement of the sales, no doubt.
Crescendo Appassionato Presto.
Let 's see: one thousand copies printed, two
Hundred and sixty-seven for review,
And still on hand when this year was begun—
Ye Gods! no less than seven thirty-one.
"Inclosed find twenty cents in royalty—
Two copies sold!" Scott! They were bought by me!
Roll on, drear world, nor stop to think of me.
I go to-day across the salt, salt sea.
I 'll head for Russia, where, the Czar defied,
I 'll save myself th' expense of suicide.
John Kendrick Bangs.