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Plump fact accept it and unlock with it
The wards of many a puzzle!

Or, finally,

Why should I set so fine a gloss on things?
What need I care? I cheat in self-defence,
And there's my answer to a world of cheats!

Cheat? To be sure, sir! What's the world worth else?
Who takes it as he finds, and thanks his stars?
Don't it want trimming, turning, furbishing up
And polishing over? Your so-styled great men,
Do they accept one truth as truth is found,

Or try their skill at tinkering? What's your world?
Here are you born, who are, I'll say at once,
Of the luckiest whether in head and heart,
Body and soul, or all that helps the same.
Well, now, look back: what faculty of yours
Came to its full, had ample justice done
By growing when rain fell, biding its time,
Solidifying growth when earth was dead,
Spiring up, broadening wide, in seasons due?
Never! You shot up and frost nipped you off,
Settled to sleep when sunshine bade you sprout;
One faculty thwarted its fellow at the end,
All you boast is, "I had proved a topping tree
In other climes,' - yet this was the right clime
Had you foreknown the seasons. Young, you've force
Wasted like well-streams: old, - oh, then indeed,
Behold a labyrinth of hydraulic pipes.

Through which you'd play off wondrous waterwork ;
Only, no water left to feed their play.

Young, - you 've a hope, an aim, a love; it's tossed
And crossed and lost: you struggle on, some spark
Shut in your heart against the puffs around,
Through cold and pain; these in due time subside,
Now then for age's triumph, the hoarded light
You mean to loose on the altered face of things,
Up with it on the tripod! It's extinct.
Spend your life's remnant asking, which was best,
Light smothered up that never peeped forth once,
Or the cold cresset with full leave to shine?
Well, accept this too, seek the fruit of it
Not in enjoyment, proved a dream on earth,
But knowledge, useful for a second chance,
Another life, · you 've lost this world
Its knowledge for the next.

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- you've gained What knowledge, sir,

Except that you know nothing? Nay, you doubt
Whether 't were better have made you man or brute,
If aught be true, if good and evil clash.

No foul, no fair, no inside, no outside,

There's your world!

Give it me! I slap it brisk

With harlequin's pasteboard sceptre: what's it now
Changed like a rock-flat, rough with rusty weed,
At first wash-over o' the returning wave!

All the dry dead impracticable stuff
Starts into life and light again; this world
Pervaded by the influx from the next.

I cheat, and what's the happy consequence?
You find full justice straightway dealt you out,
Each want supplied, each ignorance set at ease,
Each folly fooled. No life-long labor now

As the price of worse than nothing! No mere film
Holding you chained in iron, as it seems,
Against the outstretch of your very arms
And legs i' the sunshine moralists forbid!


What would you have? Just speak and, there, you see!
You're supplemented, made a whole at last,
Bacon advises, Shakespeare writes you songs,
And Mary Queen of Scots embraces you.
Thus it goes on, not quite like life perhaps,
But so near, that the very difference piques,
Shows that e'en better than this best will be
This passing entertainment in a hut

Whose bare walls take your taste since, one stage more,
And you arrive at the palace: all half real,
And you, to suit it, less than real beside,
In a dream, lethargic kind of death in life,
That helps the interchange of natures, flesh
Transfused by souls, and such souls! Oh, 't is choice!
And if at whiles the bubble, blown too thin,
Seem nigh on bursting, if you nearly see
The real world through the false, what do you see?
Is the old so ruined? You find you 're in a flock
O' the youthful, earnest, passionate genius, beauty,
Rank and wealth also, if you care for these,
And all depose their natural rights, hail you
(That's me, sir) as their mate and yoke-fellow.
Participate in Sludgehood - nay, grow mine,
I veritably possess them - banish doubt,
And reticence and modesty alike!

Why, here's the Golden Age, old Paradise

Or new Utopia! Here is life indeed,

And the world well won now, yours for the first time!

And all this might be, may be, and with good help
Of a little lying shall be: so, Sludge lies!

Why, he's at worst your poet who sings how Greeks
That never were, in Troy which never was,
Did this or the other impossible great thing!
He's Lowell - it's a world, you smile and say,
Of his own invention - wondrous Longfellow,
Surprising Hawthorne! Sludge does more than they,
And acts the books they write: the more his praise!

But why do I mount to poets? Take plain prose
Dealers in common sense, set these at work,
What can they do without their helpful lies?
Each states the law and fact and face o' the thing
Just as he'd have them, finds what he thinks fit.
Is blind to what missuits him, just records
What makes his case out, quite ignores the rest.
It's a History of the World, the Lizard Age,
The Early Indians, the Old Country War,
Jerome Napoleon, whatsoever you please,
All as the author wants it. Such a scribe
You pay and praise for putting life in stones,
Fire into fog, making the past your world.
There's plenty of "How did you contrive to grasp
The thread which led you through this labyrinth?
How build such solid fabric out of air?
How on so slight foundation found this tale,
Biography, narrative?" or, in other words,
"How many lies did it require to make

The portly truth you here present us with?"
"Oh," quoth the penman, purring at your praise,
"'Tis fancy all; no particle of fact:

I was poor and threadbare when I wrote that book 'Bliss in the Golden City.' I, at Thebes?

We writers paint out of our heads, you see!"

66 Ah, the more wonderful the gift in you,

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The more creativeness and godlike craft!"

But I, do I present you with my piece,

It's "What, Sludge? When my sainted mother spoke
The verses Lady Jane Grey last composed
About the rosy bower in the seventh heaven
Where she and Queen Elizabeth keep house,

You made the raps? "T was your invention that?
Cur, slave, and devil ! ”

Stuck in my throat!

eight fingers and two thumbs

Well, if the marks seem gone,

'Tis because stiffish cocktail, taken in time,
Is better for a bruise than arnica.

There, sir! I bear no malice: 't is n't in me.
I know I acted wrongly: still, I've tried
What I could say in my excuse,

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The devil's not all devil. I don't pretend,
An angel, much less such a gentleman
As you, sir! And I've lost
Lost all, 1-1-1- .


lost myself,

No are you

in earnest, sir?

Oh, yours, sir, is an angel's part! I know

What prejudice prompts, and what's the common course Men take to soothe their ruffled self-conceit :

Only you rise superior to it all!

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No, sir, it don't hurt much; it's speaking long
That makes me choke a little: the marks will go !
What? Twenty V-notes more, and outfit too,
And not a word to Greeley? One-
one kiss
O' the hand that saves me! You'll not let me speak
I well know, and I've lost the right, too true!
But I must say, sir, if She hears (she does)
Well, sir, be it so!

Your sainted

That's, I think, My bedroom candle. Good-night! Bl-l-less you, sir!

R-r-r, you brute-beast and blackguard! Cowardly scamp!
I only wish I dared burn down the house

And spoil your sniggering! Oh, what, you 're the man?
You 're satisfied at last? You've found out Sludge?
We'll see that presently: my turn, sir, next!
I too can tell my story: brute, do you hear?
You throttled your sainted mother, that old hag,
In just such a fit of passion: no, it was

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To get this house of hers, and many a note
Like these I'll pocket them, however . . . five,
Ten, fifteen
ay, you gave her throat the twist,
Or else you poisoned her! Confound the cuss!
Where was my head? I ought to have prophesied
He'll die in a year and join her: that's the way.

who could help?

I don't know where my head is: what had I done?
How did it all go? I said he poisoned her,
And hoped he'd have grace given him to repent,
Whereon he picked this quarrel, bullied me
And called me cheat: I thrashed him,
He howled for mercy, prayed me on his knees
To cut and run and save him from disgrace:
I do so, and once off, he slanders me.
An end of him! Begin elsewhere anew!
Boston's a hole, the herring-pond is wide,
V-notes are something, liberty still more.
Beside, is he the only fool in the world?


"We shall soon lose a celebrated building."
Paris Newspaper.


No, for I'll save it! Seven years since
I passed through Paris, stopped a day
To see the baptism of Prince;
Saw, made my bow, and went my way:
Walking the heat and headache off,

I took the Seine-side, you surmise,
Thought of the Congress, Gortschakoff,
Cavour's appeal and Buol's replies,
So sauntered till - what met my eyes?


Only the Doric little Morgue!

The dead-house where you show your drowned: Petrarch's Vaucluse makes proud the Sorgue, Your Morgue has made the Seine renowned. pays one's debt in such a case;


I plucked up heart and entered, — stalked,
Keeping a tolerable face

Compared with some whose cheeks were chalked :
Let them! No Briton 's to be balked!


First came the silent gazers; next,
A screen of glass, we 're thankful for;
Last, the sight's self, the sermon's text,

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