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Poem by Andrew Lang

Ballade of His Books

Here stand my books, line upon line
They reach the roof, and row by row,
They speak of faded tastes of mine,
And things I did, but do not, know:
Old school books, useless long ago,
Old Logics, where the spirit, railed in,
Could scarcely answer "yes" or "no" -
The many things I've tried and failed in!

Here's Villon, in morocco fine,
(The Poet starved, in mud and snow,)
Glatigny does not crave to dine,
And Rene's tears forget to flow.
And here's a work by Mrs. Crowe,
With hosts of ghosts and bogies jailed in;
Ah, all my ghosts have gone below -
The many things I've tried and failed in!

He's touched, this mouldy Greek divine,
The Princess D'Este's hand of snow;
And here the arms of D'Hoym shine,
And there's a tear-bestained Rousseau:
Here's Carlyle shrieking "woe on woe"
(The first edition, this, he wailed in);
I once believed in him--but oh,
The many things I've tried and failed in!


Prince, tastes may differ; mine and thine
Quite other balances are scaled in;
May you succeed, though I repine -
"The many things I've tried and failed in!"

Andrew Lang

Andrew Lang's other poems:
  1. In Ithaca
  2. Les Roses de Sâdi
  3. Ballade of the Tweed
  4. Dizain
  5. Ballade of the Summer Term

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