Alas! I am only a rhymer, I don't know the meaning of Art; But I learned in my little school primer To love Eugene Field and Bret Harte. I hailed Hoosier Ryley with pleasure, To John Hay I took off my hat; These fellows were right to my measure, And I've never gone higher than that.
The Classics! Well, most of them bore me, The Moderns I don't understand; But I keep Burns, my kinsman before me, And Kipling, my friend, is at hand. They taught me my trade as I know it, Yet though at their feet I have sat, For God-sake don't call me a poet, For I've never been guilty of that.
A rhyme-rustler, rugged and shameless, A Bab Balladeer on the loose; Of saccarine sonnets I'm blameless, My model has been - Mother Goose. And I fancy my grave-digger griping As he gives my last lodging a pat: "This guy wrote McGrew; 'Twas the best he could do" . . . So I'll go to my maker with that.