Robert William Service - L’Envoi

“Alas! my songs have ceased to sell,”
Bemoaned a brother bard;
To me his words were like a knell,
Inexorably hard.
For well I know the day is nigh
When time will toll the bell,
And people will no longer buy
The songs I have to sell.

To barter books for bread, thought I,
I have no pressing need;
I do do not care if folks will buy,
So long as they will read.
No more, I said, I’ll flash my head
With dollars or with pence;
But I would go before I know
Mankind’s indifference.

For O I’ve loved my puny pen
Beyond all human tie!
My life I give to it and when
It fails me I will die.
So like a child, each precious night,
Indulgence I implore;
Praying: “Oh God! please let me write
Just one book more.”

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