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Short poem

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   Its 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 dont understand, it is ruthlessly said,
            19The properly scholarly attitude --
            20The aye to be sought for, wrought for and fought for,
            21The neer to be caught for, properly scholarly attitude --

            22   I really am sometimes tempted to say
            23That its 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.

Original text:
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
RP edition:
Recent editing: 1:2004/8/6

Other poems by Adelaide Crapsey