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The Poet Answered


Dear sir:

In answer to your repeated questions and requests which
have appeared for some years past in the columns of the
rural press, I beg to submit the following solutions of
your chief difficulties:--

Topic I.--You frequently ask, where are the friends of
your childhood, and urge that they shall be brought back
to you. As far as I am able to learn, those of your
friends who are not in jail are still right there in your
native village. You point out that they were wont to
share your gambols. If so, you are certainly entitled to
have theirs now.

Topic II.--You have taken occasion to say:

"Give me not silk, nor rich attire,
Nor gold, nor jewels rare."

But, my dear fellow, this is preposterous. Why, these
are the very things I had bought for you. If you won't
take any of these, I shall have to give you factory cotton
and cordwood.

Topic III.--You also ask, "How fares my love across the
sea?" Intermediate, I presume. She would hardly travel
steerage.

Topic IV.--"Why was I born? Why should I breathe?" Here
I quite agree with you. I don't think you ought to breathe.

Topic V.--You demand that I shall show you the man whose
soul is dead and then mark him. I am awfully sorry; the
man was around here all day yesterday, and if I had only
known I could easily have marked him so that we could
pick him out again.

Topic VI.--I notice that you frequently say, "Oh, for
the sky of your native land." Oh, for it, by all means,
if you wish. But remember that you already owe for a
great deal.

Topic VII.--On more than one occasion you wish to be
informed, "What boots it, that you idly dream?" Nothing
boots it at present--a fact, sir, which ought to afford
you the highest gratification.

Stephen Leacock