Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914)
The Properly Scholarly Attitude
1 The poet pursues his beautiful theme;
2The preacher his golden beatitude;
3 And I run after a vanishing dream --
4 The glittering, will-o’-the-wispish gleam
5Of the properly scholarly attitude --
6The highly desirable, the very advisable,
7The hardly acquirable, properly scholarly attitude.
8 I envy the savage without any clothes,
9Who lives in a tropical latitude;
10 It’s little of general culture he knows.
11 But then he escapes the worrisome woes
12Of the properly scholarly attitude --
13The unceasingly sighed over, wept over, cried over,
14The futilely died over, properly scholarly attitude.
15 I work and I work till I nearly am dead,
16And could say what the watchman said -- that I could!
17 But still, with a sigh and a shake of the head,
18 “You don’t understand,” it is ruthlessly said,
19“The properly scholarly attitude --
20The aye to be sought for, wrought for and fought for,
21The ne’er to be caught for, properly scholarly attitude --“
22 I really am sometimes tempted to say
23That it’s merely a glittering platitude;
24 That people have just fallen into the way,
25 When lacking a subject, to tell of the sway
26Of the properly scholarly attitude --
27The easily preachable, spread-eagle speechable,
28In practice unreachable, properly scholarly attitude.
Online text copyright © 2004, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services,
University of Toronto Libraries.
Publication date note: Alkalay-Gut, Karen. Alone in the Dawn: The Life of Adelaide Crapsey (Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press, 1988): 234. PS 3505 R277 .Z54 Robarts Library. 1st ed. Vassarion (1901): 189.
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
Recent editing: 1:2004/8/6
Other poems by Adelaide Crapsey