Books and Bookmen, by Andrew Lang

Ballade of the Real and Ideal (Double Refrain)

O visions of salmon tremendous,

Of trout of unusual weight,

Of waters that wander as Ken does,

Ye come through the Ivory Gate!

But the skies that bring never a “spate,”

But the flies that catch up in a thorn,

But the creel that is barren of freight,

Through the portals of horn!

O dreams of the Fates that attend us

With prints in the earliest state,

O bargains in books that they send us,

Ye come through the Ivory Gate!

But the tome that has never a mate,

But the quarto that’s tattered and torn,

And bereft of a title and date,

Through the portals of horn!

O dreams of the tongues that commend us,

Of crowns for the laureate pate,

Of a public to buy and befriend us,

Ye come through the Ivory Gate!

But the critics that slash us and slate, 2

But the people that hold us in scorn,

But the sorrow, the scathe, and the hate,

Through the portals of horn!

ENVOY.

Fair dreams of things golden and great,

Ye come through the Ivory Gate;

But the facts that are bleak and forlorn,

Through the portals of horn!

2 “Slate” is a professional term for a severe criticism. Clearly the word is originally “slat,” a narrow board of wood, with which a person might be beaten.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/l/lang/andrew/books/chapter2.html

Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 22:03