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THE BALLAD OF IMITATION.
"C'est imiter quelqu'un que de planter des choux."
ALFRED DE MUSSET.
F they hint, O Musician, the piece that you played Is nought but a copy of Chopin or Spohr; That the ballad you sing is but merely "conveyed " From the stock of the Arnes and the Purcells of yore; That there's nothing, in short, in the words or the score That is not as out-worn as the "Wandering Jew"; Make answer-Beethoven could scarcely do more— That the man who plants cabbages imitates, too!
If they tell you, Sir Artist, your light and your shade
That (however the writer the truth may deplore), 'Twas Gainsborough painted your "Little Boy Blue "; Smile only serenely-though cut to the coreFor the man who plants cabbages imitates, too!
And you too, my Poet, be never dismayed
If they whisper your Epic-"Sir Eperon d'Or". Is nothing but Tennyson thinly arrayed
In a tissue that's taken from Morris's store;
That no one, in fact, but a child could ignore That you "lift" or "accommodate " all that you do ; Take heart-though your Pegasus' withers be soreFor the man who plants cabbages imitates, too!
POSTSCRIPTUM.-And you, whom we all so adore,
THE BALLAD OF PROSE AND RHYME. (BALLADE À DOUBLE REFRAIN.)
WHEN the ways are heavy with mire and rut,
In November fogs, in December snows,
When the North Wind howls, and the doors are shut,—
When the brain gets dry as an empty nut,
When the reason stands on its squarest toes,
In a theme where the thoughts have a pedant-strut,
But whenever a soft glance softer grows And the light hours dance to the trysting-time, And the secret is told "that no one knows,"Then hey!-for the ripple of laughing rhyme !
IN the work-a-day world,—for its needs and woes, There is place and enough for the pains of prose ; But whenever the May-bells clash and chime, Then hey!-for the ripple of laughing rhyme !
HIP, to the roadstead rolled,
What dost thou ?-O, once more
Regain the port. Behold!
Thy sides are bare of oar,
Thy tall mast wounded sore
Of Africus, and see,
What shall thy spars restore !— Tempt not the tyrant sea!
What cable now will hold
When all drag out from shore !
What though thy ribs of old
The pines of Pontus bore!
Not now to stern of gold
Men trust, or painted prore !