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A Versemans Apology

 Alas! I am only a rhymer,
I don't know the meaning of Art;
But I learned in my little school primer
To love Eugene Field and Bret Harte.
I hailed Hoosier Ryley with pleasure, To John Hay I took off my hat; These fellows were right to my measure, And I've never gone higher than that.
The Classics! Well, most of them bore me, The Moderns I don't understand; But I keep Burns, my kinsman before me, And Kipling, my friend, is at hand.
They taught me my trade as I know it, Yet though at their feet I have sat, For God-sake don't call me a poet, For I've never been guilty of that.
A rhyme-rustler, rugged and shameless, A Bab Balladeer on the loose; Of saccarine sonnets I'm blameless, My model has been - Mother Goose.
And I fancy my grave-digger griping As he gives my last lodging a pat: "This guy wrote McGrew; 'Twas the best he could do" .
So I'll go to my maker with that.

by Robert William Service
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