To Correspondents

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MY postman, though I fear thy tread, And tremble as thy foot draws nearer,'Tis not the Christmas dun I dread, My mortal foe is much severer --The unknown correspondent, who, With indefatigable pen,And nothing in the world to do, Perplexes literary men.

From Pentecost and Ponder's End They write: from Deal, and from Dacota;The people of the Shetlands send No inconsiderable quota;They write for autographs; in vain -- In vain does Phyllis write, and Flora;They write that Allan Quatermain Is not at all the book for Brora.

They write to say that they have met This writer 'at a garden party,And though' this writer 'may forget' Their recollection 's keen and hearty;'And will you praise in your reviews A novel by our distant cousin.'These letters from provincial blues Assail us daily by the dozen.

O friends with time upon your hands, O friends with postage-stamps in plenty,O poets out of many lands, O youths and maidens under twenty,Seek out some other wretch to bore, Or wreak yourselves upon your neighbours,And leave me to my dusty lore And my unprofitable labours!

© Andrew Lang