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Poem by John Godfrey Saxe
Again I hear that creaking step!-- He's rapping at the door!-- Too well I know the boding sound That ushers in a bore. I do not tremble when I meet The stoutest of my foes, But Heaven defend me from the friend Who comes--but never goes! He drops into my easy chair, And asks about the news, He peers into my manuscript, And gives his candid views; He tells me where he likes the line, And where he's forced to grieve; He takes the strangest liberties,-- But never takes his leave! He reads my daily paper through Before I've seen a word; He scans the lyric (that I wrote), And thinks it quite absurd; He calmly smokes my last cigar, And coolly asks for more; He opens everything he sees-- Except the entry door! He talks about his fragile health, And tells me of the pains He suffers from a score of ills Of which he ne'er complains; And how he struggled once with Death To keep the fiend at bay; On themes like those away he goes-- But never goes away! He tells me of the carping words Some shallow critic wrote; And every precious paragraph Familiarly can quote; He thinks the writer did me wrong; He'd like to run him through! He says a thousand pleasant things-- But never says, "Adieu!" Whene'er he comes--that dreadful man-- Disguise it as I may, I know that, like an Autumn rain, He'll last throughout the day. In vain I scowl and pout; A frown is no extinguisher-- It does not put him out! I mean to take the knocker off, Put crepe upon the door, Or hint to John that I am gone To stay a month or more. I do not tremble when I meet The stoutest of my foes, But Heaven defend me from the friend Who never, never goes!
John Godfrey Saxe
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