THE IMP WITHIN
'No . . . ? Well, lest promise in performance faint,
A less inviting prospect will I paint.
I bid thee adjure thy Yesterday, and say:
"As thou wast, Enemy, so be To-day.—
Immure me in the same close narrow room;
Be hated toil the lamp to light its gloom;
Make stubborn my pen; sift dust into my ink;
Forbid mine eyes to see, my brain to think.
Scare off the words whereon the mind is set.
Make memory the power to forget.
Constrain imagination; bind its wing;
Forbid the unseen Enchantresses to sing.
Ay, do thy worst!"
'Vexed Spectre, prythee smile.
Even though that yesterday was bleak and sour.
Art thou a slave beneath its thong to cower?
Thou hast survived. And hither am I—again,
Kindling with mockery thy o'erlaboured brain.
Though scant the moments be wherein we meet,
Think, what dark months would even one make sweet.
'Thy quill? Thy paper? Ah, my dear, be true.
Come quick To-morrow. Until then, Adieu.'