Phantasmagoria, and other poems, by Lewis Carroll

Fame’s Penny-Trumpet

[Affectionately dedicated to all “original researchers” who pant for “endowment.”]

Blow, blow your trumpets till they crack,

Ye little men of little souls!

And bid them huddle at your back —

Gold-sucking leeches, shoals on shoals!

Fill all the air with hungry wails —

“Reward us, ere we think or write!

Without your Gold mere Knowledge fails

To sate the swinish appetite!”

And, where great Plato paced serene,

Or Newton paused with wistful eye,

Rush to the chace with hoofs unclean

And Babel-clamour of the sty

Be yours the pay: be theirs the praise:

We will not rob them of their due,

Nor vex the ghosts of other days

By naming them along with you.

They sought and found undying fame:

They toiled not for reward nor thanks:

Their cheeks are hot with honest shame

For you, the modern mountebanks!

Who preach of Justice — plead with tears

That Love and Mercy should abound —

While marking with complacent ears

The moaning of some tortured hound:

Who prate of Wisdom — nay, forbear,

Lest Wisdom turn on you in wrath,

Trampling, with heel that will not spare,

The vermin that beset her path!

Go, throng each other’s drawing-rooms,

Ye idols of a petty clique:

Strut your brief hour in borrowed plumes,

And make your penny-trumpets squeak.

Deck your dull talk with pilfered shreds

Of learning from a nobler time,

And oil each other’s little heads

With mutual Flattery’s golden slime:

And when the topmost height ye gain,

And stand in Glory’s ether clear,

And grasp the prize of all your pain —

So many hundred pounds a year —

Then let Fame’s banner be unfurled!

Sing Paeans for a victory won!

Ye tapers, that would light the world,

And cast a shadow on the Sun —

Who still shall pour His rays sublime,

One crystal flood, from East to West,

When YE have burned your little time

And feebly flickered into rest!

This web edition published by:

The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52