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Short poem

Walter Alexander Raleigh (1861-1922)

Song of Myself

              1I was a Poet!
              2But I did not know it,
              3Neither did my Mother,
              4Nor my Sister nor my Brother.
              5The Rich were not aware of it;
              6The Poor took no care of it.
              7The Reverend Mr. Drewitt
              8Never knew it.
              9The High did not suspect it;
            10The Low could not detect it.
            11Aunt Sue
            12Said it was obviously untrue.
            13Uncle Ned
            14Said I was off my head:
            15(This from a Colonial
            16Was really a good testimonial.)
            17Still everybody seemed to think
            18That genius owes a good deal to drink.
            19So that is how
            20I am not a poet now,
            21And why
            22My inspiration has run dry.
            23It is no sort of use
            24To cultivate the Muse
            25If vulgar people
            26Can't tell a village pump from a church steeple.
            27I am merely apologizing
            28For the lack of the surprising
            29In what I write
            31I am quite well-meaning,
            32But a lot of things are always intervening
            34What I mean
            35And what it is said
            36I had in my head.
            37It is all very puzzling.
            38Uncle Ned
            39Says Poets need muzzling.
            40He might
            41Be right.

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: Laughter from a Cloud, foreword by Hilary Raleigh (London: Constable, 1923): 89-90. British Library 012273.bbb.7
First publication date: 1923
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2001
Recent editing: 2:2002/2/13

Composition date: August 1910
Composition date note: Stein, Switzerland, August 1910.
Form: couplets

Other poems by Walter Alexander Raleigh