Ellis Parker Butler

5 December 1869 - 13 September 1937 / Muscatine / Iowa / United States

New England Magazine

Upon Bottle Miche the autre day
While yet the nuit was early,
Je met a homme whose barbe was grey,
Whose cheveaux long and curly.

'Je am a poete, sir,' dit he,
'Je live where tres grande want teems—
I’m faim, sir. Sil vous plait give me
Un franc or cinquatite centimes.'

I donne him vingt big copper sous
But dit, 'You moderne rhymers
The sacre poet name abuse—
Les poets were old timers.'

'Je know! I know!' he wept, contrite;
'The bards no more suis mighty:
Ils rise no more in eleve flight,
Though some are beaucoup flighty.

'Vous wonder why Je weep this way,
Pour quoi these tears and blubbers?
It is mon fault les bards today
Helas! suis mere earth-grubbers.

'There was a time when tout might see
My grande flights dans the saddle;
Crowned rois, indeed, applauded me
Le Pegasus astraddle.

'Le winged horse avec acclaim
Was voted mon possession;
Je rode him tous les jours to fame;
Je led the whole procession.

'Then arrivee the Prussian war—
The siege—the sacre famine—
Then some had but a crust encore,
We mange the last least ham-an’

'Helas! Mon noble winged steed
Went oft avec no dinner;
On epics il refusee feed
And maigre grew, and thinner!

'Tout food was gone, and dans the street
Each homme sought crusts to sate him—
Joyeux were those with horse’s meat,
And Pegasus! Je ate him!'

My anger then Je could not hide—
To parler scarcely able
'Oh! curses dans you, sir!' Je cried;
'Vous human livery stable!'

He fled! But vous who read this know
Why mon pauvre verse is beaten
By that of cinquante years ago
‘Vant Pegasus fut eaten!
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