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Short poem

William Wilfred Campbell (1858?-1918)

The Politician

              1Carven in leathern mask or brazen face,
              2     Were I time's sculptor, I would set this man.
              3     Retreating from the truth, his hawk-eyes scan
              4The platforms of all public thought for place.
              5There wriggling with insinuating grace,
              6     He takes poor hope and effort by the hand,
              7     And flatters with half-truths and accents bland,
              8Till even zeal and earnest love grow base.

              9Knowing no right, save power's grim right-of-way;
            10     No nobleness, save life's ignoble praise;
            11No future, save this sordid day to day;
            12     He is the curse of these material days:
            13Juggling with mighty wrongs and mightier lies,
            14This worshipper of Dagon and his flies!


14] Dagon: pagan deity of the Philistines, an idol.

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: The Collected Poems of Wilfred Campbell (New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1905), p. 284. PS 8455 A6A17. Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1904
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 1998.
Recent editing: 4:2002/1/17

Composition date: 1904
Composition date note: ca. 1904
Form: Italian Sonnet (Variant)
Rhyme: abbaabba cdcdee

Other poems by William Wilfred Campbell