I’m told that April is National Poetry Month so I will post one of Hodgson’s less known poems every Wednesday in April.
This poem is a parody of Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem but changed to be more appropriate for writers. It was never published during Hodgson’s lifetime nor was it included in the two volumes of poetry that Hodgson’s widow published after his death. It would not be published until 1976 when it appeared in Omniumgathum: An Anthology of Verse by Top Authors in the Field of Fantasy.
(Without the usual apologies.)
Once upon a morning dreary, while I pondered weak and weary
O’er MSS unaccepted that were scattered round the floor–
While I pondered, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my outer door;
‘Tis a Dun, I muttered weakly, waiting hungry for my ore–
Only that, and nothing more.
Suddenly my soul grew stronger, and I stayed in bed no longer;
For a strange presentment whispered that the Post was at the door,
And that all that gentle tapping which had stirred me in my napping
Was the postman slowly dropping cheques by scores upon the floor.
And at the thought–loud cheering–rushing I to my outer door-–
MSS there–and nothing more.
Long I stood there peering, peering–all the evil in me leering;
And my back and heart were aching ere the pile was off the floor;
Then at last the quiet was broken, as I murmured forth in token
Of my lack of due elation, one bright adjective–and more,
These I whispered very gently, and there echoed back in awe
Just a cuss, and nothing more.
‘Editors,’ I muttered slowly, ‘are you men or are you devils?
(Buy the MSS that are with you!) By that God we all adore,
Tell this soul with MSS laden, if within some dusty haven
I shall see my name engraven in your book wherein you score
Names of those who are “accepted”? Hasten now I do implore!’
Came a whisper–‘Nevermore!’
For the Editors are sitting, still are sitting, grimly sitting,
On my tousled heaps of MSS piled beneath them on the floor;
And their eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
Whilst their pens are ever streaming o’er ‘REFUSALS’ by the score;
And the thud of MSS falling through the slit in my front door
Shall cease thudding–nevermore!