Thursday, February 10, 2011


The Way to Succeed

Anthony C. Deane (1870-1946), A Certain Cure:
When I look at my diligent neighbours,
  Each wholly convinced in his mind
That the fruit of his personal labours
  Will be the reform of mankind,
When I notice the bland satisfaction
  That brightens the features of each—
Commendably prudent in action,
    Though mighty in speech—

Observing by dint of persistence
  What wide reputation they gain,
The clew to a happy existence
  Is rendered increasingly plain,
Because the self-satisfied feeling
  I covet may quickly be had
By any one owning (or stealing)
    A suitable fad.

Shall I hotly oppose Vivisection?
   Grow warm on the Drainage of Flats?
Or strive for the Better Protection
  Of Commons, Cathedrals, or Cats?
Perhaps in orations that thrill, I
  For freedom (and fever) will fight—
A portion of small-pox bacilli
    Is simply our right!

However, the choice is a detail;
  Whatever the fad be about,
To trade in it, wholesale and retail,
  To preach it, in season and out,
And so to be reckoned a leader
  (Although there be little to lead),
Yes, that's, O incredulous reader,
    The way to succeed!

You find that existence is hollow,
  The fight for position is hard.
A remedy? Yes, if you'll follow
  This way, to the fad-monger's yard:
Come, here is a hobby—astride it
  You settle; I tighten the girth—
So-off, and good-luck to you! Ride it
    For all it is worth!

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