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Short poem

James Kenneth Stephen (1859-1892)

To R. K.

     As long I dwell on some stupendous
     And tremendous (Heaven defend us!)
     Penman's latest piece of graphic.

              1Will there never come a season
              2Which shall rid us from the curse
              3Of a prose which knows no reason
              4And an unmelodious verse:
              5When the world shall cease to wonder
              6At the genius of an Ass,
              7And a boy's eccentric blunder
              8Shall not bring success to pass:

              9When mankind shall be delivered
            10From the clash of magazines,
            11And the inkstand shall be shivered
            12Into countless smithereens:
            13When there stands a muzzled stripling,
            14Mute, beside a muzzled bore:
            15When the Rudyards cease from kipling
            16And the Haggards Ride no more.


1] R. K. is Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), poet and novelist, with such popular poems as "If" and novels as The Jungle Book (1894) and Kim (1901). Stephen's epigraph is from Browning's "Waring," lines 52-56, a poem from which Rudyard quoted in "Slaves of the Lamp -- Part I," in his Stalky and Co. (London: Macmillan, 1899), which is available in Project Gutenberg (identification courtesy of James Fulford, Nov. 8, 2002).

16] Haggards: Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925), author of such popular novels as King Solomon's Mines (1886) and She (1887).

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: J. K. Stephen, Lapsus Calami, new edn. (Cambridge: Macmillan and Bowes, 1891), p. 3. PR 5473 S4L3 1891. Robarts Library.
First publication date: February 1891
Publication date note: Cambridge Review (Feb. 1891)
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/14*1:2002/11/8

Rhyme: ababcdcd

Other poems by James Kenneth Stephen