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My Masters

 Of Poetry I've been accused,
But much more often I have not;
Oh, I have been so much amused
By those who've put me on the spot,
And measured me by rules above
Those I observe with equal love.
An artisan of verse am I, Of simple sense and humble tone; My Thesaurus is handy by, A rhyming lexicon I own; Without them I am ill at ease - What bards would use such aids as these? Bad poets make good verse, they say; The Great have not distained to woo The modest muse of every day; Read Longfellow and Byron through, The fabric test - much verse you'll see Compared with what is poetry.
Small blame; one cannot always soar To heights of hyaline sublime; Melodious prose one must deplore, And fetters of rebellious rhyme: Keats, Browning - that's another tale, But even Giants fail and fail.
I've worshipped Ryley, Harte and Field, And though their minstrelsy I lack, To them heart-homage here I yield, And follow with my verseman's pack: To them with gratitude I look, For briefing me to make this book.

by Robert William Service
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